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Backstrom sprung Semin on a one-on-one break with time winding down in the period. Gleason was able to separate Semin from the puck, but Ward pushed it back onto Semin’s stick with his blocker as Gleason slid helplessly into the corner.

Semin snapped a shot into the net with Ward prone on the ice and just 0.6 seconds on the clock. He has 21 goals in 25 career games against the Hurricanes.

The Caps outshot the Hurricanes 14-5 in the first period, but Carolina - with one road win to its credit this season - proved opportunistic. Seconds after Green went to the ice clutching his face in the offensive end, Jiri Tlusty completed a two-on-one at the other end with his first goal since being acquired from Toronto this month at 2:01.

Green, who said he “went black for a second,” was able to get up after a high hit from Andrew Alberts but opted to skate to the bench instead of trying to get back into the play.

Eric Staal made it a two-goal advantage at 13:56. Staal’s second whack at a wraparound attempt trickled off Theodore’s shoulder, off the inside of the post and just over the goal line.

“We played pretty good, but it wasn’t enough,” Ovechkin said of the first period. “We were down 2-0, and we came back [in the dressing room and] we said we have to do something better. It was 14 shots but no traffic, no rebounds and [Ward] was able to see the puck. It was good to bounce back and win the game.”