sunny.png
Saturday August 13th, 2022 8:38PM

Hurricanes rout Capitals, lose Kotkaniemi to injury

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes gave the Washington Capitals something to think about if the division rivals meet in the playoffs, though it came at the cost of a potentially serious injury in the final seconds.

Martin Necas scored twice, Sebastian Aho added his 29th goal and the Hurricanes routed the Capitals 6-1 on Monday night in a potential first-round preview. Carolina center Jesperi Kotkaniemi put no weight on his left leg after getting injured on a penalized hit by Lars Eller with 1.8 seconds left, and his uncertain status overshadowed a big victory.

"I don’t know the extent, but it’s not good," coach Rod Brind'Amour said during a somber postgame news conference. "He’s injured. I don’t know how bad, but he’s definitely going to be out. The game was over. Let’s just get it over with. Two seconds left. I don’t like it. But nothing you can do about it.”

Kotkaniemi's injury could linger long after a game that should have been remembered for Carolina's domination and a heavyweight fight between teammate Brendan Smith and Washington's Tom Wilson.

Tensions had been simmering between them since Wilson rocked Vincent Trocheck with a big shoulder-to-chest hit at center ice in the second period, and he wanted to fight Smith early in the third before officials intervened. Wilson and Smith finally dropped the gloves midway through the third, with each landing multiple punches in a bout that fired up a crowd that had been dormant much of the game.

“It’s two tough dudes going at it," said Hurricanes forward Max Domi, who had two assists. “I have so much respect for Smitty, obviously for doing something like that. He certainly doesn’t have to, but it’s a part of the league. He’s a big part of the win.”

If the fireworks were a sign of things to come, a Hurricanes-Capitals playoff series would be must-see entertainment. This result moved that one step closer to reality.

Carolina, which leads the Metropolitan Division, moved one point ahead of Florida in the back-and-forth race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, which would likely mean a series against the Capitals instead of Boston, Toronto or two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay.

After losing to the Capitals in a shootout at home 10 days ago and less than a month since getting blown out of this building, the Hurricanes made plenty of statements to show they wouldn't be at a disadvantage if the teams face off in early May.

That began well before puck drop with Brind'Amour starting No. 1 goaltender Frederik Andersen over backup Antti Raanta despite a visit to the Lightning looming Tuesday in the second half of a back-to-back. Andersen stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced, with most of the pressure coming in the first half of the second period when the Capitals tilted the ice toward him.

Much of the rest of the game was all Carolina, perhaps a product of the opposite scheduling for Washington: no game until Sunday and the next two days completely off.

“We don’t really get to decide,” forward Garnet Hathaway said of the break. “We’re going to make the most of it right now. It’s one that, I think you could look at this game and really want to get back in the rink and turn things around.”

The Capitals had a burst of energy after the first intermission that culminated in Wilson's goal and cut their deficit to one, but the quick-strike Hurricanes answered less than two minutes later with Aho's short-handed goal and left no doubt about the result.

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

Veteran forward Derek Stepan and defensemen Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei also scored for the Hurricanes, who won for the second time in three games and extended their point streak to four. Washington's Vitek Vanecek, who was pulled to start the third after allowing five goals on 23 shots, gave up some bad rebounds but was hardly to blame for his teammates' messy play in the defensive zone and carelessness with the puck.

“Tonight didn’t go our way," coach Peter Laviolette said. "It’s hard to paint the month with a brush tonight and say it wasn’t good, or it wasn’t consistent. There was a lot of good things that we did. Certainly, you leave tonight and everybody’s got a bad taste in their mouth.”

The Hurricanes also left Washington with a bad taste because of Kotkaniemi's injury from Eller's hit just before the final horn and long after the outcome had been determined.

“For me, that’s just so stupid,” Necas said. "I don’t know even who hit him, but whoever it was, it’s a 6-1 game, one second left and does that. He tries to be a hero or whatever. I don’t know. I have no words for that. It’s just ridiculous.”

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Raanta is expected to start in goal in the road-trip finale Tuesday night at Tampa Bay.

Capitals: Host the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night after their extended break.

___

Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Hockey
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
UConn reaches 14th straight Final Four, tops NC State in 20T
UConn is heading back to the women's Final Four for the 14th straight time
9:50PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Hurricanes rout Capitals, lose Kotkaniemi to injury
The Carolina Hurricanes gave the Washington Capitals something to think about if the division rivals meet in the playoffs
9:45PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Oregon ends residency rule for medically assisted suicide
Oregon will no longer require people to be residents of the state to use its law allowing terminally ill people to end their own lives, after a lawsuit challenged the requirement as unconstitutional
9:34PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Osaka makes Miami quarterfinals, says she's more grateful
Making the quarterfinals at a tournament used to be no big deal for Naomi Osaka
8:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
Kershaw pitches 4 scoreless innings for Dodgers vs. D-backs
The Los Angeles Dodgers have so many stars this season that Clayton Kershaw is just one of the guys
7:22PM ( 2 hours ago )
Buzzer-beaters, NBA stars highlight best of Duke-UNC rivalry
The Duke-North Carolina rivalry has been filled with future NBA stars and intense finishes through nearly 100 meetings in Mike Krzyzewski's Hall of Fame tenure with the Blue Devils
7:15PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Taxpayer tab is $850M for Bills' new stadium, NY gov says
State and county taxpayers will be asked to commit $850 million in public funds toward construction of the Buffalo Bills’ new stadium as part of a 30-year lease agreement
12:40PM ( 9 hours ago )
Marc-Andre Fleury among the winners at NHL trade deadline
Marc-Andre Fleury may have been the biggest winner at the NHL trade deadline, getting dealt by the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks to the potentially contending Minnesota Wild
2:17AM ( 6 days ago )
Wild land Fleury, Rangers add 3 players at trade deadline
Marc-Andre Fleury is back in the playoff picture after the Minnesota Wild acquired the three-time Stanley Cup-winner in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks
8:35PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Online Hockey
UConn reaches 14th straight Final Four, tops NC State in 20T
UConn is heading back to the women's Final Four for the 14th straight time
9:50PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Oregon ends residency rule for medically assisted suicide
Oregon will no longer require people to be residents of the state to use its law allowing terminally ill people to end their own lives, after a lawsuit challenged the requirement as unconstitutional
9:34PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Taliban hard-liners turning back the clock in Afghanistan
Taliban hard-liners are turning back the clock in Afghanistan with a flurry of repressive edicts over the past days that hark back to their harsh rule from the late 1990s
9:15PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Maryland lawmakers to vote on new congressional map
Maryland lawmakers spent their weekend redrawing the state’s U.S. House districts after a judge said the current map shows “extreme partisan gerrymandering
9:14PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Australia to increase spending on defense and security
Australia's Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the government's upcoming budget will increase spending on defense and national security while reducing household expenses
8:42PM ( 1 hour ago )