WASHINGTON - Nathan Gerbe's goal 6:59 into the third period gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 victory against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night in a meeting of former Southeast Division rivals.
Gerbe gave the Hurricanes their first lead of the game when he took advantage of a failed clearing attempt by John Carlson. Braden Holtby made a save on Justin Faulk's shot, but John Erskine could not handle Carlson's clearing try, and Gerbe capitalized for his third goal of the season.
Anton Khudobin, who like Gerbe was signed as a free agent during the summer, stopped 30 shots and withstood a last-minute barrage by the Capitals for his second win in as many starts. Carolina won in regulation for the second time in its past 11 visits to Verizon Center.
The Capitals twice took one-goal leads only to see the Hurricanes get even.
After the Capitals peppered Khudobin early in the first period, forcing him to make some high-quality saves, it was a harmless-looking shot from Jason Chimera that eluded him at 5:33 to give Washington a 1-0 lead. Khudobin made the initial save on Eric Fehr's wrister from just inside the red line, but paddled out a long rebound. Chimera outraced the defense, grabbed the puck in the left circle and threw a shot at the net that beat Khudobin high to the far side for his first goal of the season.
The team combined for three goals in a 3:16 span of the second period.
Elias Lindholm, the fifth player taken in the 2013 NHL Draft, scored the first goal of his NHL career at 12:58, corralling a loose puck at the point, curling to his forehand and throwing a shot at the net that deflected off Carlson's skate and fluttered past Holtby's outstretched glove.
Alex Ovechkin responded with a deflection goal of his own less than a minute later. Ovechkin's stick grazed Steve Oleksy's slap shot from the point, and the puck took an odd carom off the ice before dribbling past Khudobin at 13:52. It was Ovechkin's fifth of the season; he has goals in each of his first four games, the first time he's accomplished that feat.
Carolina tied it at 16:14 during a 5-on-3 power play. With Joel Ward and Erskine in the penalty box, the Hurricanes worked the puck around until Eric Staal fed Alexander Semin for a one-time blast past Holtby from the left circle. Semin's first goal against the Capitals at Verizon Center since signing with the Hurricanes in the summer of 2012 was met by a hearty round of boos from the sellout crowd of 18,506.