- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 22, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C. | A pair of goals by defensemen in typically unchartered territory ended the Washington Capitals‘ four-game road trip on a negative note.

Carolina defensemen Joni Pitkanen and Anton Babchuk scored on rebounds inches away from Washington goaltender Jose Theodore in the third period to lead the surging Hurricanes to a 4-1 win Saturday at sold-out RBC Center.

Pitkanen gave the Hurricanes the lead 4:42 into the final period. Theodore stopped Eric Staal’s shot from the left circle, but Pitkanen was able to scoop up the rebound unimpeded in front of the net and shovel a backhanded shot over the fallen netminder.

Babchuk added the insurance marker at 13:43 during a four-on-four situation. Theodore turned aside the first shot, but Babchuk was alone in front to bang in the rebound. It was Babchuk’s 12th of the season and third in as many games.

Washington lost for only the second time in seven games, but the Caps failed to move back in front of the idle New Jersey Devils for second place in the Eastern Conference. Carolina, which hasn’t made the playoffs since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, is now 7-1-2 in its last 10 and remained in sixth place in the conference standings.

Hurricanes captain Rod Brind’Amour put Carolina in front early in the second period. Thanks to a couple of breakdowns by the Caps, Jussi Jokinen collected the puck in the left corner with no interference and was able to hit a wide open Brind’Amour in the slot at 3:53.

For the second straight game Mike Green scored in the final minute of a period and leveled the contest at 1-1. Nicklas Backstrom’s centering pass on a rush from near the left corner was knocked away from the crease by Carolina’s Tim Gleason, but it ended up on Green’s stick, and he blasted one from inside the right circle that just sneaked inside the top left corner of the goal.

It was Green’s 28th of the season and fifth in four games. He is now halfway to his NHL record for a defenseman of eight consecutive games with a goal, which Green set earlier this season.

Alex Ovechkin thought he had the first tally of the game midway through the first period, but his goal was waved off because Backstrom had committed a hooking penalty just before the puck came to him.

Notes — Forward Chris Bourque was recalled from Hershey to replace Quintin Laing on the roster. This is the fourth time this season Bourque has been summoned from the Bears. …

Defenseman Milan Jurcina was a healthy scratch. Left wing Donald Brashear missed his sixth straight game with a sprained knee.

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