The capital was hit by a storm, January 6 – CBS Baltimore

WASHINGTON (AP) – Hurricane Carolina gave the Washington Capitals something to think about should the division’s opponents meet in the knockout stages, though it came at the cost of a potentially serious injury in the final seconds. together.

Martin Necas scored twice, Sebastian Aho added his 29th and the Hurricanes beat the Capitals 6-1 on Monday night in a potential preview of the first round. Center Carolina Jesperi Kotkaniemi didn’t put much weight on his left foot after being injured in a penalty by Lars Eller with 1.8 seconds left, and his uncertain condition overshadowed a win great.

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Coach Rod Brind’Amour said in a somber press conference after the game. “He was injured. I don’t know how true it is, but he’s definitely going out. Game over. Let’s get over it with. Two seconds left. I do not like it. But there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Kotkaniemi’s injury is likely to linger after a match that should have been remembered for Carolina’s dominance and a heavyweight fight between teammate Brendan Smith and Washington’s Tom Wilson.

Tensions have been simmering between them since Wilson rocked Vincent Trocheck with a massive shoulder blow to the chest in the second inning, and he wanted to take on Smith early in the third before officials intervened. Wilson and Smith eventually dropped their gloves midway through the third round, with each knocking down multiple punches in a single match, igniting a crowd that had been dormant for much of the game.

Max Domi, who had two assists, said: “It’s two tough guys doing it. “I have great respect for Smitty, obviously for doing such a thing. He certainly doesn’t have to, but it’s part of the league. He was an important part of the victory. “

If fireworks are a sign of things to come, a series of Hurricanes-Capitals playoffs will be entertainment not to be missed. This result brings that one step closer to reality.

Carolina, the Metropolitan Division’s lead, edged Florida by one point in the back and forth race for the top seed at the Eastern Conference, which could mean a series against the Capitals instead of Boston, Toronto or twice. defend Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay.

After losing to the Capitals in a penalty shootout at home 10 days ago and less than a month since being blown out of the building, the Hurricanes have made numerous statements suggesting they will not be at a disadvantage if the team head-to-head in early May. .

That started well before starting with Brind’Amour’s No 1 goalkeeper Frederik Andersen, replacing Antti Raanta as a substitute despite a visit by Lightning looming on Tuesday in the second half of a standoff game. . Andersen blocked 25 of the 26 shots he faced, with most of the pressure coming in the first half of the second half as the Capitals tipped the ice in his favor.

Much of the rest of the game is Carolina’s, perhaps a product of Washington’s opposite schedule: no games until Sunday, and the next two days are completely off.

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“We didn’t really have to decide,” striker Garnet Hathaway said of the break. “We are going to make the most of it now. It’s one thing where I think you can look at this game and really want to get back on the rink and turn things around. ”

The Capitals burst with energy after the first hiatus which culminated in a Wilson goal and cut their deficit to one, but the attacking storm quickly responded less than two minutes later with the goal. Aho’s brief and left no doubt about the outcome.

“That’s the big goal of the game,” Brind’Amour said. “That was probably the turning point of the game.”

Veteran forward Derek Stepan and defenders Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei also scored for the Hurricanes, who won for the second time in three games and extended their streak to four. Washington’s Vitek Vanecek, who was dragged off for third after conceding five goals from 23 shots, gave up some lousy rebounds but was hard to blame for his teammate’s messy play. in the defensive area and careless with the slit.

“Tonight didn’t go our way,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “It’s hard to draw the month with a brush tonight and say it’s not good, or it’s inconsistent. There are so many good things that we have done. Sure, you leave tonight and everyone has a bad taste in their mouths. “

The Hurricanes also left Washington with a bad taste because of Kotkaniemi’s injury after Eller’s strike just before the final whistle and long after the outcome had been decided.

“To me, that was stupid,” Necas said. “I don’t even know who hit him, but who was it, it was a 6-1 game, one second left and do it. He tries to be a hero or whatever. I do not know. I have no words for that. It is just absurd.”


The capital hosts the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night after their extended vacation.

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Jake Nichol

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