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game recap

Hurricanes hold off elimination by ending Capitals' winning streak

Washington fails to pad division lead with first loss in six games

by Brian McNally / Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- The Carolina Hurricanes kept their slim Stanley Cup playoff chances alive with a 4-1 win against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Friday.

Scott Darling made 20 saves for the Hurricanes (35-32-11), who have won four of five and are eight points behind the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference with four games remaining.

"We've had too many of those games where you played well and haven't gotten a point or two points, and tonight we were able to seal the deal and get the two points," Carolina coach Bill Peters said.


[WATCH: All Hurricanes vs. Capitals highlights]


Braden Holtby made 26 saves for the Capitals (46-25-7), who had their season-long five-game winning streak end.

Washington remained five points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division; each has four games remaining and play each other Sunday.

Michal Kempny scored on a point shot at 2:35 of the second period to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. It was his first goal in 18 games for Washington since being acquired Feb. 19 in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Derek Ryan tied it 1-1 at 3:15 of the second period on a rebound after a Phillip Di Giuseppe shot. Justin Faulk put Carolina ahead 2-1 at 11:43 when he scored from the high slot after a Washington turnover.

"We dominated some portions of the game, for sure," Ryan said. "They got some sustained zone time. That's to be expected. They're a skilled team. They're a good team. We knew coming in that we were going to have to play some time in our own zone and try not to get running around, play structured. We did that."

Video: CAR@WSH: Ryan buries rebound on the doorstep

Sebastian Aho pushed the lead to 3-1 at 14:32 of the third period. Brock McGinn scored an empty-net goal at 17:50 to make it 4-1.

"Just not really our best game," Capitals forward Lars Eller said. "I still feel we had another gear or two that we didn't show."

Darling made three saves on Nicklas Backstrom late in the second period to keep the Hurricanes ahead 2-1, and one on a Jakub Vrana breakaway at 6:14 of the third period. Darling, who entered with an .886 save percentage, also stopped Dmitry Orlov on a backhand in tight at 14:21, and Aho scored 11 seconds later.

"It's been an adjustment all year long with that, not getting the shots, especially like the [flutter] shots, but still getting the Grade A chances," Darling said. "It's been a big transition for me."

Video: CAR@WSH: Kempny pots slap shot from the point


Goal of the game

Faulk's goal at 11:43 of the second period.

Video: CAR@WSH: Faulk wires wrister past Holtby


Save of the game

Darling's save on Vrana at 6:14 of the third period.

Video: CAR@WSH: Darling holds off Vrana on breakaway


Highlight of the game

Aho's goal at 14:32 of the third period.

Video: CAR@WSH: Aho whips home wrister from the slot


They said it

"I think it's just a coincidence. Maybe it's my old goalie coach [Capitals director of goaltending] Mitch Korn. It's his good energy I'm getting when I play here." -- Hurricanes goalie Scott Darling, who made 47 saves on 49 shots in two wins at Capital One Arena this season


"This league is too good. You have to have lots of skin in the game and I didn't think we had enough skin in the game emotionally. Carolina is too good of a team." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz


Need to know

Capitals forward T.J. Oshie (lower body) left the game in the third period and will be re-evaluated Saturday. ... Capitals forward Lars Eller played his 600th NHL game. ... Aho has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in his past 11 games.


What's next

Hurricanes: Host the New York Rangers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, MSG 2, NHL.TV)

Capitals: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)


Video: Balanced attack leads Hurricanes past Capitals, 4-1

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