LaRose's goal downs Washington

Inexperienced Carolina edges Caps team weary from previous night's win

March 26, 2010|By McClatchy Newspapers

RALEIGH, N.C. — — On paper, it was a mismatch. Advantage, Washington Capitals.

The Caps have the NHL's best record this season. They were looking to set a franchise record for points in a season and wrap up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. They lead the NHL in goals scored, by a wide margin.

The Carolina Hurricanes, meanwhile, had eight players in the lineup Thursday night who have played in the American Hockey League this season. They had rookie forwards, rookie defensemen.

In the end, it took a shootout to decide it. It was just that even for 65 minutes, before the Hurricanes emerged with a 3-2 victory at the RBC Center on Chad LaRose's goal.

In the shootout, Niklas Backstrom's goal for the Caps was matched by Ray Whitney's for the Hurricanes. But LaRose scored on a forehand to end it and give the Hurricanes a 3-1-2 record over the Caps this season.

Eric Staal had a chance to win it for Carolina late in overtime on a two-on-one rush with Whitney but was denied by goaltender Semyon Varlamov with 1:21 left.

Hurricanes goalie Manny Legace stopped the Caps' Alexander Semin with five seconds in regulation and then Tom Poti with one second left to take the game to overtime.

The Hurricanes hoped to catch the Caps still feeling the effects of Washington's emotional, physical 4-3 shootout victory Wednesday over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Carolina did, beating the Caps to pucks and taking a 2-0 lead after the first period.

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