RALEIGH, N.C. — Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller each had a goal and an assist, and the Washington Capitals held off the Carolina Hurricanes for a 4-3 win Friday night.
Richard Panik and Jakob Vrana also scored for the Capitals, who had dropped two in a row. Rookie goalie Ilya Samsonov stopped 38 shots to win for the 11th time in 13 starts this season.
Washington led 4-1 early in the third period before Carolina rallied on power-play goals by Teuvo Teravainen and Ryan Dzingel. Samsonov stopped Warren Foegele late in the game to preserve the win.
Jordan Staal also scored for Carolina (24-15-2), which dropped to 2-1-0 on its seven-game homestand.
The Capitals (28-9-5) entered the game tied for the most points in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, but had dropped their last four games against the Hurricanes dating to Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.
After Carolina posted a 6-4 win over the Capitals on Dec. 28, Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele confirmed the series had developed into a rivalry, saying: “We don’t like them. They don’t like us.”
Samsonov helped Washington build an early lead and break through against the Hurricanes. He is the Capitals’ No. 2 goaltender behind Braden Holtby, who is an NHL All-Star for the fifth straight season.
But like Holtby, Samsonov has been outstanding this season, and he entered as the first goalie in NHL history to open his career with wins in his first seven road games in the same season.
On Friday, he stopped 18 shots in the first period as Carolina opened with a high-energy attack. After Panik scored 2:58 into the second, Samsonov used his right pad to stop a backhander by All-Star defenceman Dougie Hamilton on a short-handed breakaway.
Seconds later, Kuznetsov sneaked behind Hamilton on the same Washington power play to score at the goalmouth on a pass from the point by John Carlson.
Kuznetsov has four goals and one assist in his last three games. He has 16 goals this season and is on pace to score 30 in a season for the first time in his career. … Washington is 9-1 this season in games played on Friday and 17-1-3 when scoring the opening goal. … At the halfway point of the season, the Hurricanes have the second-highest point total through 41 games in franchise history with 50 points. Only the 2005-06 team, with 58 points and a 27-10-4 record, had more points through 41 games.
Capitals: Return home to meet San Jose on Sunday.
Hurricanes: Meet Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Ken Tysiac, The Associated Press