RALEIGH, N.C. | The Washington Capitals were all about scoring first. Mike Knuble even took a question about odd-man rushes and turnovers and started addressing the need to get on the board first on the road.
“It’s such a difference when you score the first goal vs. giving up the first goal,” he said. “It’s a big difference throughout the course of the night as far as setting the team’s game plan in motion.”
Monday night at the Carolina Hurricanes, they didn’t score first. Instead, they allowed two goals in the first 5:09. The first was Justin Faulk taking advantage of a big rebound off Tomas Vokoun’s pads on the power play. The second was a defensive miscue by the Caps at the blue line that led to one by Anthony Stewart.
Just 5:09 into the game, Washington was down 2-0 and coach Dale Hunter yanked Vokoun and replaced him with Michal Neuvirth. Vokoun allowed two goals on seven shots in his shortest start of the season.
This was Neuvirth’s first action since a loss at the New York Rangers on Feb. 12. He stopped the first eight shots he faced before allowing one on the ninth in the final minute of the first. But it was hard to blame the 23-year-old as another neutral zone blunder by the Caps led to an odd-man rush.