In dire need of a regulation win, the Washington Capitals hunkered down to face the Carolina Hurricanes in the first of a five-game homestand at Verizon Center. After going up 1-0 early in the first, the Capitals ended the period holding a lead for the first time all season, but fell 3-2 to the Hurricanes in their first matchup in the new Metropolitan Division.
Adam Oates didn’t change the lineup too much, as seems to be his modus operandi of late. Michael Latta, summoned from Hershey, played in Jay Beagle’s place on the fourth line, and Connor Carrick was scratched in favor of waiver acquisition Alexander Urbom, who made his season debut against the Hurricanes Thursday night.
Jason Chimera got his first goal of the season out of the way early, giving the Capitals a 1-0 lead early in the first. Last season, it took Chimera 27 games to score the first of three goals, and that after coming off an outlier season in 2011-12, where he scored a career-high 20 goals.
Carolina’s Elias Lindholm answered to tie it 1-1 in the 2nd, but Alex Ovechkin gave the Caps the go-ahead goal a minute later, tipping in Steve Oleksy’s point shot. Before the period was over, former Capital Alex Semin evened things up on a Hurricane power play. The fans weren’t happy about that, but they were less pleased during the third period, when Nathan Gerbe slid a wrist shot past Holtby to make it 3-2.
All of the Capitals goals were scored at even-strength, and they went 1-for-5 on the penalty kill (significant improvement there). The dominant power play, conversely, did not fare as well, coming up empty on all five opportunities.
The Capitals are now 1-3 after four games, but Adam Oates said he’s not ready to push the panic button on things just yet. In fact, he was complimentary of the team’s effort in the loss.
“I thought it was a good hockey game. I thought both teams played well.” said Oates. “I thought we did a lot of good things – tough break on the winning goal…The pace was pretty good of the game. The second half of the game I thought we played pretty hard…all in all I thought the game was okay.”