WASHINGTON (AP) – A two-goal deficit was nothing for the Carolina Hurricanes. Not after how much they struggled at the start of the season to dig themselves in an early hole.
They’re well out of that, and scoring six unanswered goals on the way to a 6-2 victory Friday night at the Washington Capitals showed how far they’ve come since October. The Hurricanes have won five in a row, haven’t lost since the Christmas break and are squarely among the NHL’s elite nearing the midway point.
“It’s been a grind a little bit since the start of the year,” said defenseman Brent Burns, who scored twice. “We haven’t really been getting the results that we wanted, and we need to put some things in a row and get some wins and throw some streaks together. It’s been good that since the break we’ve been rolling. We’ve got to keep it going, though.”
Andrei Svechnikov had a goal and two assists for his sixth consecutive multipoint game, Sebastian Aho had three assists and Pyotr Kochetkov made 15 saves for his 11th win of the season.
Seth Jarvis scored the tying goal early in the third to complete the comeback from down 2-0, and Svechnikov put the Hurricanes ahead on the power play with 7:19 left. Svechnikov also set up Burns for his second of the night less than 90 seconds later.
“Whenever we’re losing, we’re always go, go go, and that’s kind of our game,” Svechnikov said. “It was good for us today and work out perfectly.”
Former Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov scored into an empty net from 183 feet away, and Vasily Ponomarev beat Darcy Kuemper in the final minute to give himself two points in his NHL debut.
They were without three of their top nine forwards with Jesper Fast and Martin Necas injured and Stefan Noesen out with an illness. Ponomarev was called up earlier in the day from AHL Chicago and made it to the arena two hours before puck drop to play.
“Maybe I look like I’m not nervous every time, but I’m nervous every time,” said Ponomarev, who saw his first NHL game in person in Washington in 2017. “I just focused on the game and did what I can do.”
Kuemper allowed five goals on 33 shots in net for the Capitals, who have lost two in a row and six of seven. Back-to-back slashing penalties by Beck Malenstyn and Evgeny Kuznetsov paved the way for Carolina’s third-period power-play goals.
“It’s irrelevant because we have no business being in that situation,” Capitals coach Spencer Carbery said. “The game is so lopsided that, yeah, they capitalized, but it’s inevitable in those spots when you’re playing on your heels like that.”
Before that, Nic Dowd scored, and Alex Ovechkin extended his point streak to four games by setting up Dylan Strome’s power-play goal. Ovechkin has two goals and three assists during this run.
Washington was also playing short a regular with defenseman Rasmus Sandin out sick.
Carbery said T.J. Oshie returned home to Minnesota to receive treatment on an injury that has kept him out since Dec. 17. Fellow winger Sonny Milano joined the team for its morning skate but remains week to week with an upper-body injury.
Washington got a reinforcement in winger Max Pacioretty, who made his season debut Wednesday against New Jersey. Pacioretty, who played five games last season with Carolina before re-tearing his right Achilles tendon, hit the crossbar on his best scoring chance of the night.
Hurricanes: Open a six-game homestand Saturday against St. Louis on Saturday.
Capitals: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.