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Recap: Canes Open Homestand With Big Win Over Capitals

Foegele records three points in 6-4 win

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

The Carolina Hurricanes upended the top team in the league, defeating the Washington Capitals, 6-4, in the first game of a season-long, seven-game homestand.

Warren Foegele led the way offensively with a three-point performance (2g, 1a), all of which came in the second period.

Here are five takeaways from Saturday night in Raleigh.

1. Setting the Tone

A packed barn. Raucous energy. The desperate feeling of needing a win paired with the confidence that it would happen. Physicality. Energy.

In the first regular-season meeting between the Hurricanes and Capitals in Raleigh since Game 6 of the First Round, this one - game 39 in the regular season - had all the trappings of a spring playoff game.

"That's where rivalries come [from]. You play the same team seven games in a row in two weeks, and you're going to have some hatred for each other," Dougie Hamilton said. "It's always a fun game when we can play them."

Video: WSH@CAR: Hurricanes celebrate Thor style

"It's always competitive playing against these guys. We don't like them. They don't like us. It's that simple," Foegele said. "It's always fun beating them."

It was a bounce-back win for the Canes, who had previously dropped three games in a row, and it came in a big way against the league's top team in the first game of a season-long, seven-game homestand.

Video: In the Room: Brind'Amour Postgame vs WSH

Setting the tone.

"We needed to be the desperate team, and we were the team that needed to win," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "I'm just happy we got it and the fans can leave here feeling good about it."

"We love playing in front of our fans. We know the energy they bring," Foegele said. "We've got to use that to our advantage."

2. Foegele Takes Over

Warren Foegele gets up to play the Capitals, and a three-point performance earned him first-star honors in the Hurricanes' win.

"He was buzzing," Hamilton said. "He's effective when he plays that way. A lot of energy. He made some nice plays."

The second period belonged to Foegele, who recorded two goals and an assist in the middle frame alone.

Just eight seconds into the second period, Foegele helped the Canes stretch their lead to 2-0. Off the center-ice faceoff win, Jaccob Slavin sprung Jordan Staal and Foegele on a 2-on-1 rush. Staal gave it to Foegele for the one-time finish.

Video: WSH@CAR: Foegele pots early 2nd period blast

And, just in case you're curious, the franchise record for the fastest goal to begin the second period (or any period) belongs to Jordan Martinook, who scored just six seconds into the second period against Philadelphia almost exactly a year ago on Dec. 31, 2018.

Foegele punched in his second of the period just about 13 minutes later to give the Canes another two-goal advantage. Feisty and dogged in locating the puck in the blue paint, Foegele banged in the uncovered biscuit for his third shorthanded goal of the season, tying him for the league lead this season. The shorthanded tally was the Canes' league-leading ninth of the season.

Video: WSH@CAR: Foegele cleans up the mess for a SHG

"He was the difference tonight," Brind'Amour said of Foegele. "He had a strong start. That line was really good, I thought."

3. Quick Response

The Hurricanes and Capitals went back-and-forth in the second period, but the Canes were one better. Each time the Caps pulled within a goal, the Canes answered to restore their two-goal advantage - and the answers came in fairly short order, which helped stifle any momentum swing the Caps might have created.

A minute and 46 seconds after Nic Dowd scored to make it a 2-1 game in the second period, Dougie Hamilton accepted a pass in transition from Foegele and wristed a shot past Braden Holtby.

Video: WSH@CAR: Hamilton unleashes wicked wrist shot

"We're sticking to what we know and what we're good at," Hamilton said. "If we can execute that, we know we're a good team."

Then, just over three minutes after Alex Ovechkin scored a you-know-what from you-know-where, Foegele tallied shorthanded.

"That was a pretty intense game. A pretty even match going back-and-forth. A lot of chances early. I thought both teams had some good looks," Brind'Amour said. "Then, the game kind of lost its flow a little bit with all the penalties and whatnot, but obviously we'll take the win."

4. More of the Same in the Third

Just as they did in the second, the Hurricanes had the rapid response for the Capitals in the third.

Evgeny Kuznetsov weaved his way up the ice to score a power-play goal and make it a 4-3 game two minutes into the third period. But, just 80 seconds later, Martin Necas pounced on a loose puck in the slot and slid the puck past an outstretched Holtby for what proved to be the game-winning tally.

Video: WSH@CAR: Necas gathers puck, sends it home

"We stuck with the plan for the most part and tried to shut down a pretty potent team," Brind'Amour said. "Twenty guys there that I thought had pretty solid games tonight."

5. Wally World

Lucas Wallmark continues to build upon his career-best point streak.

Wallmark opened the scoring in the first period with a power-play goal, his third of the season. Shortly after the expiration of a 5-on-3 advantage, Nino Niederreiter found Wallmark open along the far side of the net for the one-timer, with Travis Boyd having exited the box but unable to skate back into the play in time.

Video: WSH@CAR: Wallmark opens the scoring with quick blast

"[Niederreiter] made a great pass to me," Wallmark said. "I was little lucky it went in, but it was a big goal for us and got the fans going."

Wallmark now has points in a career long six straight games (4g, 4a), and through 39 games this season, he's well on his way to set career best marks across the board.

"He's super important," Brind'Amour said of Wallmark. "When there is a leak, he kind of plugs it. Whatever we ask him to do, whether it's killing penalties, and now he's getting power-play goals and playing against the best lines. He's capable of doing all that."

Up Next

The Hurricanes ring in 2020 against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

"We have a great opportunity here to get some points," Wallmark said. "Hopefully we can keep building on this game tonight."

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