Washington
Capitals
28-40-14
Carolina
Hurricanes
40-34-8

20 SOG
39 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
WSH
CAR
game recap

Hurricanes 5, Capitals 0

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

David Droschak

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Hurricanes 5, Capitals 0
Washington Capitals 0, Carolina Hurricanes 5

"Confident" Cole Leads Canes to Victory

David Droschack

RALEIGH, N.C. (November 9, 2006) - Erik Cole is officially back.

Sure, Cole returned from a broken neck to play the final two games of last year's Stanley Cup run, and he suited up for the first 16 contests this season as well.

But the rugged left wing was just feeling his way, searching for his game until Thursday night against the Washington Capitals.

Cole just may look back a few months from now and realize Game No. 17 was the turning point of his season in a 5-0 Carolina win. Cole scored goals in the first and second periods to stake the Canes to a 2-0 lead, getting his first multi-goal game since being rammed into the boards from behind in Pittsburgh on March 4 - the night he broke his neck and ruined what was a career season.

He then capped off his remarkable night Thursday with his fourth career hat trick with 5:21 left, lifting a nifty backhander over the shoulder of Brent Johnson.

Recovery complete!

"It has been more about my timing and seeing everything," said Cole, who played 20 minutes for the fifth straight game. "In the first period I was just going, going, going and not reading any plays very well. And the second period, it slowed down a little bit. I am getting used to playing with the guys again. It was quite a long layoff."

His second goal, scored late in the second period, came on a Carolina power play and was vintage Cole. He positioned himself in front of Johnson, who was keeping Washington in the game with spectacular save after spectacular save. But Johnson couldn't stop Cole's off-the-hip redirect of an Eric Staal shot.

"It was good to have things bounce my way," said Cole. "That was just a lucky one on the power play. I'm just glad we got this win to set the tone at home for this stretch."

Cole's two goals gave the Hurricanes a nice cushion heading into the third, but Carolina can thank penalty killers Rod Brind'Amour, Mike Commodore, Bret Hedican and goalie Cam Ward for preserving the lead. Glen Wesley, Chad LaRose and Niclas Wallin took penalties within a minute and 12 seconds of each other, giving the Capitals a two-man advantage for 2:18.

Ward was able to come up with four saves during the kill, but Carolina's captain and the two D-men get gold stars for turning the momentum and getting the crowd into the game. If Washington was lost on offense leading up to the Carolina penalties, the Capitals certainly appeared zapped after failing miserably on the power play.

"I was looking to see if we were going to call a timeout and let them rest and keep going at it," said Cole. "Those guys have to be in the top three in the league of getting the job done 5-on-3."

"They did a great job of reading things and getting in the shot lanes," added Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette. "They took away passing seams and when he needed the big saves Cam came up with them."

Cole registered his fifth point in the last three games when he and Scott Walker teamed on a picture-perfect 2-on-1 breakout in the first, with Walker's crossing pass tipped in by a streaking Cole, who started the play along the boards deep in Carolina's zone.

The Hurricanes held the Caps without a shot over the final 12:27 of the first period and had three power-play chances, but could only manage the Cole goal before breaking the game open with a three-goal third.

In addition to Cole's hat trick, the third period produced three firsts. Glen Wesley registered his first point of the season with an assist on Staal's 10th of the season. Three minutes later, Trevor Letowski got his first goal in a Carolina uniform, lighting the lamp in his second game back after missing nine in a row with a concussion.

And Ward notched his first career shutout in his 43rd NHL game. Ward, who stopped 20 shots, did get a shutout in Game 2 of the Cup final.

"It was a credit to the guys," Ward said. "They played great in front of me."

The Hurricanes were playing in just their sixth home game of the season, and drew their first standing ovation over the final minute from the 18,639 at the RBC Center.

"It was a fun atmosphere to be playing in," said Ward.

After a slow 0-3-1 start, Carolina has now won eight of its last 13 heading into a Saturday night game against the Penguins.

"When Cole is going, we're a tough team to beat," Commodore said. "Cole has picked it up and he looks confident," added Laviolette.

David Droschak is the former sports editor for the North Carolina bureaus of the Associated Press, the largest news-gathering organization in the world. In 2003, Droschak was named the North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year. The only writer in the Triangle to have covered the Carolina Hurricanes every season since the organization moved to North Carolina, he currently is a principal in the Raleigh-based public relations firm Hughes-Droschak Communications.

scoring summary
1st Period
05:47
CAR
Erik Cole (4) ASST: Scott Walker (5), Niclas Wallin (3)
1 - 0 CAR
2nd Period
18:03
CAR
PPG - Erik Cole (5) ASST: Eric Staal (9), Bret Hedican (3)
2 - 0 CAR
3rd Period
08:46
CAR
Eric Staal (10) ASST: Scott Walker (6), Glen Wesley (1)
3 - 0 CAR
11:46
CAR
Trevor Letowski (1) ASST: Andrew Ladd (2)
4 - 0 CAR
14:39
CAR
Erik Cole (6) ASST: Ray Whitney (16), Rod Brind'Amour (16)
5 - 0 CAR
penalty summary
1st Period
02:37
CAR
Trevor Letowski  Hooking against  Brian Sutherby
09:26
WSH
Donald Brashear  Hooking against  Glen Wesley
11:03
WSH
Shaone Morrisonn  Holding against  Justin Williams
14:43
WSH
Alexander Semin  Hooking against  Ray Whitney
2nd Period
07:33
CAR
Glen Wesley  Tripping against  Alexander Semin
08:18
CAR
Chad LaRose  Hooking against  Dainius Zubrus
08:45
CAR
Niclas Wallin  Cross checking against  Alexander Semin
11:18
WSH
Mike Green  Hooking against  Justin Williams
17:07
WSH
Mike Green  Hooking against  Ray Whitney
18:13
WSH
John Erskine  Interference against  Trevor Letowski
3rd Period
19:39
WSH
Brent Johnson  Tripping against  Chad LaRose
goalie stats
Brent Johnson
Brent Johnson
SA: 39TOI: 60:00
Saves: 34EV: 27 - 31
PIM: 2PP: 7 - 8
SV%: .872SH: 0 - 0
Cam Ward
SA: 20TOI: 59:51
Saves: 20EV: 15 - 15
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 4
SV%: 1.000SH: 1 - 1