HURRICANES (10-12-5) at CAPITALS (14-11-2)
TV: FS-CR, CSN-DC
Last 10: Carolina 4-5-1; Washington 5-4-1
Season series: The Carolina Hurricanes won the first of five games against the Washington Capitals, 3-2 on Oct. 10 at Verizon Center, on a third-period goal by Nathan Gerbe. They play three times in the next month.
Big story: Carolina has lost six of eight, falling from third place in the Metropolitan Division to sixth place at the start of play Monday.
"We've got three games in four nights now. We've got to compete harder and compete harder at a consistent level," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller told the News & Observer on Monday. "But you can't [waste] your energy on moping around."
Washington, on a two-game winning streak after losing four straight, last played Saturday and does not again until a back-to-back Saturday and Sunday.
Hurricanes: Carolina begins a stretch of seven of nine games on the road, where it is 4-6-1.
"Playing on the road, sometimes that's even better to further emphasize the simple game, the straight up-and-down kind of game that has led to our success," defenseman Jay Harrison told the team website. "That's kind of the prime environment for us to get on a roll and turn the corner, so to speak."
Of the Hurricanes' 10 wins, four are against teams currently above .500. Two of those were against the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks, among of the top five teams in the NHL standings.
"I think it was kind of an up-and-down month for us," Harrison said. "There were some tough times where we lacked the conviction to play our game, and there were other times where we really showed what kind of team we can be and played really well against some great teams."
The Hurricanes are 3-for-41 on the power play in the past 13 games.
Capitals: Forward Martin Erat will be in the Washington lineup for a second straight game after sitting out three in a row as a healthy scratch. Defenseman Dimitry Orlov, called up three times from the American Hockey League and a healthy scratch nine times this season, made his debut in the 3-2 overtime win against the New York Islanders
Erat told the media last Monday he wanted to be traded, and Orlov's agent on Wednesday reportedly said his client wanted the same. Erat had an assist on the first goal Saturday, and Orlov played 13:41.
"We're all pros. They go in, [Orlov] wanted to prove he can play in the League, Marty wants to prove that he can play," Oates told Monumental Network on Monday. "And if a guy's not happy, you still have to be able to do your job and contribute, and he did. [Erat] set up the first goal, [Orlov] played good. However the team evolves, the team evolves, because the team comes first."
The game Saturday was the 10th for the Capitals decided after three periods (8-0-2); they had 10 in the 48 games last season.
"We have to get used to those type of games," Alex Ovechkin said. "They're not going to be 6-2, 6-3 or 4-2. They're going to be tight games because everybody is trying to play [defense]. The big factor is [penalty kill] and power play."
Who's hot: Hurricanes captain Eric Staal has 10 points in his past nine games after getting nine in his first 17. … Ovechkin has 15 points (10 goals) in his past 13 games. Goalie Braden Holtby has stopped 72 of 76 shots in the past two games (.947 save percentage).
Injury report: Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera (upper body) practiced and could play, the News & Observer reported. Defenseman Tim Gleason (lower body) did not practice, but is on the trip. Muller said he did not know when Alexander Semin (concussion) would return to practice. … The Capitals placed goalie Michal Neuvirth (lower body) on injured reserve Monday. Forward Brooks Laich (lower body) needs some practice time before he will return, Oates said. Defenseman John Erskine (knee) is feeling stronger, according to the coach.
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