The Hurricanes will try to avenge an early season shutout loss on Monday when they host the Southeast Division rival Capitals.
Carolina (8-3-3) has averaged a league-high 3.79 goals to climb to the top of the division with one of the best records in the league. In their third game of the season Oct. 6, however, the Hurricanes lost 2-0 at Washington, their lone shutout loss and only shut out victory for the Capitals on the season.
To beat the Hurricanes again, the Capitals will have to stop an offense that has netted 24 goals in its last five games.
"We're at our best when there's a lot of movement, guys jumping in and out of holes, side to side, downhill, up high, and we're able to create chances from that," said Carolina coach Peter Laviolette, whose team is 4-1-1 at home.
The Hurricanes improved their record at the RBC Center with a 4-2 victory over Florida on Saturday night. Four different Carolina players scored as the team improved one of the league's best power-play percentages with two goals in four opportunities with the man advantage.
"Our identity should be to get the puck to the net as much as possible, regardless of who we're playing or whether we work on it in practice," Laviolette said. "If you can put the puck on the net 40 times, or 40-plus times, there's a good chance you're going to score goals, especially with the group we have in there."
Matt Cullen has been a main part of that group. Cullen - a member of Carolina's Stanley Cup-winning team of 2006, left as a free agent, then rejoined the team this summer - had a goal and an assist in Saturday's win to extend his points streak to six games, and is tied for fourth on the team with 15 points (four goals, 11 assists).
"It's fun to be back there and we have some really good players to play with," Cullen told the Hurricanes' official Web site. "It's pretty easy for me when you've got guys like Ray Whitney, Rod Brind'Amour and (Cory) Stillman passing to you. It has been good so far."
Carolina is 19-for-77 (24.7 percent) with the power play, but only 7-for-37 (18.9 percent) in six home games.
Washington's shutout of Carolina was part of its 3-0-0 start, but the Capitals have lost eight of their last 10. They fell 3-2 against Philadelphia on Friday despite Alexander Ovechkin's team-high ninth goal.
"Disappointing but not discouraging," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. "We'll fight on."
Ovechkin scored his first goal of the season against the Hurricanes, and has 11 goals and eight assists in 17 career games against them.
Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig, who was in net for the Oct. 6 shutout, is 25-11-1 with eight ties and a 2.16 goals-against average in 45 lifetime games against the Carolina franchise. He's won three straight against the Hurricanes, posting a 1.67 GAA in that stretch.
Carolina's Cam Ward didn't play against Washington in the first game between the teams. He's 6-3-0 with a 2.86 GAA in 10 career games against the Capitals.
Carolina won the 2006-07 season series 5-3, including a 3-1 mark at home.
|Apr 01 '08||CAR 1 at WSH 4||B. Laich|
|Mar 25 '08||WSH 3 at CAR 2 - SO||V. Kozlov|
|Feb 23 '08||WSH 3 at CAR 6||E. Staal|
|Feb 08 '08||CAR 2 at WSH 1||A. Ladd|
|Nov 30 '07||WSH 3 at CAR 4||R. Brind'Amour|
|Nov 24 '07||CAR 2 at WSH 5||M. Nylander|
|Nov 05 '07||WSH 0 at CAR 5||C. Stillman|
|Oct 06 '07||CAR 0 at WSH 2||A. Ovechkin|