The Capitals didn't make it look easy. They allowed Carolina back into the game with two early third period goals, but ultimately the better team prevailed.
The first Hurricanes goal was admittedly pretty. A slap pass from Joni Pitkanen found its way straight to its intended target Sergei Samsonov, who was able to put the puck past Semyon Varlamov. Four minutes later, the Hurricanes made the Capitals pay on the power play as Eric Staal collected a loose puck and knocked it into the net.
Washington rewarded its returning netminder though with just eight minutes to play. A slashing penalty was called on Justin Skinner of the Hurricanes when he took down Alex Ovechkin on a fast break. On the ensuing power play, Washington won the faceoff and sent a simple shot towards Justin Peters. The Carolina goaltender saved the puck, but could not clear the zone, sending the puck instead straight to Ovechkin. The captain took a shot from just inside the blue line, and an intentionally dragged deflection by Brooks Laich in front of the net turned out to be the gamewinner.
Varlamov had 30 saves in his first game since October 21 and just his second start of the season.
The Capitals return to action on Friday at 5:00 PM.