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Capitals, Hurricanes renew rivalry
(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of old Southeast rivals will meet for the first time as members of the Metropolitan Division on Thursday, as the Washington Capitals host the Carolina Hurricanes in a clash at Verizon Center.
The Caps and Hurricanes played for years in the now-defunct Southeast Division, but are together in a new group thanks to the onset of realignment for the 2013-14 season.
The familiar foes met five times during the lockout-shortened 2013 season and Washington won four of those encounters. The Caps have taken seven of 11 overall in this series and Carolina has lost four of six and seven of its past 10 games in D.C.
Both clubs are entering Thursday's game following losses. Washington lost Saturday in Dallas to fall to 1-2-0 on the young season, while Carolina dropped a 5-2 decision in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, giving the Hurricanes a 1-1-1 mark through three games.
Carolina rallied from down 2-0 to even things at 2-2 with the Penguins early in the third period on Tuesday, but Pittsburgh scored three unanswered goals to end the game. Former Hurricanes forward Jussi Jokinen scored twice in third-period burst for the Pens and he ended with three goals for his second career hat trick.
Eric Staal and Nathan Gerbe both scored for the Hurricanes, who were coming off a 2-1 win over Philadelphia on Sunday. Cam Ward was tagged for all five goals on 36 shots in the loss.
"He's an opportunistic player who can score and produce when he's in the right spots," said Staal about Jokinen. "He showed that tonight and really had a great game."
Carolina will aim for its first road win of the season this evening in D.C. The Canes were 10-11-3 as the visiting team in 2013.
The Stars used Alex Chiasson's second-period tally to down the visiting Capitals last Saturday. Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin potted a power-play marker for his fourth goal of the season, while Braden Holtby allowed both goals on 21 shots for the Caps.
"I think we have to work on our passes," Caps centerman Nicklas Backstrom said. "I think everything can be better."
Backstrom has taken some time away from hockey in recent days to witness the birth of his son, but the Swedish pivot is expected to be in the lineup on Thursday.
Thursday's tilt marks the start of a five-game homestand for the Caps, who were 15-8-1 as the host last season.
10/10 10:56:54 ET