(Sports Network) - For the first time this season the Carolina Hurricanes will get a chance to play a game on their home ice, as they welcome the Washington Capitals for tonight's Southeast Division clash at RBC Center.
The Hurricanes began the 2010-11 campaign with a two-game series against Minnesota in Helsinki, Finland. After sweeping the Wild overseas, Carolina returned to North American and embarked on a five-game road trip, which ended Saturday with an overtime win in Phoenix.
Carolina went 2-3-0 on the swing and is glad to be back in Raleigh, where the club posted 21 of its 35 victories last season.
"I think that coming off a road trip that was a very difficult schedule and having more confidence in yourself than when you left -- we're very happy about that," Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice told his team's official web site.
The 'Canes notched a 4-3 victory over the Coyotes on Saturday thanks to Anton Babchuk's game-winner with 2:08 remaining in overtime.
Patrick Dwyer, Jussi Jokinen, and Sergei Samsonov also lit the lamp for the Hurricanes. Cam Ward turned aside 36- of-39 shots.
"I think we were good for about 35-40 minutes," said Maurice. "They're a young team like we are and we faltered there, but we came back to find a way to win so good for us."
The Hurricanes are expected to have forward Jiri Tlusty on the ice for the first time this season tonight. Tlusty had knee surgery in the offseason and had been playing with Carolina's AHL affiliate in Charlotte for conditioning purposes. He posted one goal and one assists in five games with the Checkers before being recalled to the big club this week.
Washington is coming off a win in its last outing, as the defending Presidents' Trophy winners posted an overtime victory Saturday against visiting Atlanta. Alexander Semin notched his fourth career hat trick andTomas Fleischmann scored the winning goal 1:37 into overtime to lead the Capitals to the 4-3 decision at Verizon Center.
Mathieu Perreault added two assists and Michal Neuvirth made 29 saves for the Capitals. Neuvirth is expected to get the start again tonight as Semyon Varlamov is not with the team due to a groin injury. Braden Holtby will likely serve as the backup.
In the extra session, Eric Fehr took a shot from above the right circle. Fleischmann was in the inside edge of the same circle and he lifted a backhand high past Chris Mason for the game-winner.
"That was a fluky goal, but it went in," Fleischmann said. "I'm happy for it."
The Hurricanes and Caps split six meetings last year and each club has 10 victories in the last 20 encounters overall. Washington has dropped nine of its last 12 on the road in this series.
Tonight marks the start of a three-game road trip for the Caps, who are 1-2-0 as the away team this year.