Preview: Hurricanes at Capitals
Alex Ovechkin turned back the clock Saturday, pumping in three goals for his first hat trick in more than two years in a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. The struggling Washington Capitals will be hoping that performance will be the spark that turns the season around for their superstar left winger as they prepare to host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Ovechkin's four-point outing snapped a two-game losing streak for Washington, which remains tied with the Buffalo Sabres for last place in the Eastern Conference despite winning four of the last six games.The surprising Hurricanes are sitting where the Capitals expected to be - tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning atop the Southeast Division. Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory at the New York Islanders on Sunday. Success away from home is a big reason for the Hurricanes' solid start. They improved to 6-3-1 on the road with Saturday's come-from-behind victory. Former Capital Alexander Semin capped the scoring with an empty-net goal.TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Carolinas, CSN Maryland (Washington)ABOUT THE HURRICANES (9-7-1): Semin had a goal and two assists Sunday and is tied for third on the team with 14 points. Semin spent his first seven seasons with the Capitals, but signed with Carolina after his production dipped from a high of 40 goals and 84 points in 2009-10 to 21 and 54 last season. Not everyone was sad to see Semin leave. "It was tough to lose his scoring ability, when he wanted to play,'' Washington right wing Troy Brouwer told reporters. "It's tough to play alongside guys like those because you don't know what you're going to get out of 'em."ABOUT THE CAPITALS (6-10-1): Ovechkin had only five goals prior to Saturday's eruption, which snapped a three-game points drought. It was the first multi-goal effort in 11 months for Ovechkin, who registered a career-low 65 points last season. Washington is hoping the Russian winger can regain the touch that produced four 50-goal campaigns in his first five seasons. ''You want to see your go-to guy get some,'' first-year coach Adam Oates told reporters. ''Him scoring first for us gets the place going. The fans love him. The place is rocking. It obviously helps the team.''OVERTIME1. The Hurricanes have won the last three meetings, including two by shutouts.2. Capitals D Mike Green said he is "100 percent" after sitting out the last three games because of a groin injury.3. Washington signed G Braden Holtby and D John Erskine to two-year contracts on Monday.PREDICTION: Capitals 4, Hurricanes 3
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