WASHINGTON, DC – Jeff Skinner scored the first two goals for the Carolina Hurricanes as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center in Washington. Skinner later added an assist as the Hurricanes won comfortably, 4-1.
Capitals head coach Adam Oates said, “No matter who you are, you eventually leak a little oil, and I think we did that. Over the course of 80 games I think sometimes you’re going to have games where everything the other team does well goes in, but for the first 30 minutes I didn’t mind our game at all.”
Skinner opened the scoring at 9:39 of the first period when he took an Eric Staal pass and jammed it in Braden Holtby’s short side off his leg pad. Holtby shortly recovered to stop three point-blank shots on the power play by Eric Staal, Skinner, and Tuomo Ruutu. Meanwhile, Justin Peters emerged unscathed from a first period where the Capitals peppered him with 12 shots.
The Hurricanes put away the game in the second period with three goals. Skinner tallied his second when he beat Holtby at 8:42 after receiving a long pass from Jay Harrison, who received a long pass from Peters. After Jay Beagle’s tripping penalty, Andrej Sekera scored on a shot from the point on the power play at 14:09, with an assist from Skinner. Jiri Tlusty capped Carolina’s scoring burst at 4:58 from Radek Dvorak and Harrison.
Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said, “He (Skinner) was off to a great start and then he got hurt. Now he is starting to get in the groove again. It’s the first game he played with Eric (Eric Staal) and Roots (Tuomo Ruutu) and they came through in a big game so that was great to see. He’s a goal scorer and if you give him a chance he’s going to score. He’s going into the tough areas to create those opportunities and that’s a big plus for us.”
“Their second goal [in the second period] kind of deflated us a little bit. I still thought we were okay, then they got that power play goal and there was no life left. Not only on the bench, but in the stands. We may have underestimated these guys a little bit and when they were up 3-0 on us, we were mad, but we didn’t use that anger the right way. We used it to kind of feel sorry for ourselves. It was really strange to see,” said Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner.
The Capitals avoided the shutout with a Mike Green power play goal, his first of the season, at 6:39 of the third period after Tlusty was sent to the penalty box for tripping.
Peters, who came into the game with two of his three career shutouts against the Capitals, stopped 26 out of 27 shots. The Hurricanes chased Holtby after two periods, scoring their four goals on 23 shots. Philipp Grubauer finished the game for the Capitals and stopped all nine shots he faced.