The Carolina Hurricanes scored three goals on special teams, including two by Jussi Jokinen, as they shutout divisional rivals the Washington Capitals 3-0 at the RBC Center on Friday.
Jokinen opened the scoring in the first period on a shorthanded breakaway after Eric Staal had forced a turnover with teammate Justin Faulk in the penalty box.
The Finnish left-winger doubled the advantage to the delight of the home fans with a power-play goal late in the second period.
Jokinen has scored three goals in his past three games after enduring a 25-game goalless drought dating back to Nov. 20 last year.
“Being an offensive player like me, I need to score goals for this team to win,” Jokinen told reporters. “Lucky I got that goal on Sunday. Now it’s been going better, so I hope I can keep going.”
Jiri Tlusty completed the scoring with a stunning power-play goal in the final minute of the game, the Czech center rounding Capitals goalie Tomas Vokoun and sliding the puck into the net.
“We had our chances again, but today you can tell by the stats that special teams killed us,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter said. “They scored two power-play goals and they scored shorthanded. Our power play, we gave up five or six scoring chances. We made bad decisions with the puck and it cost us.”
Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward had little difficulty stopping all 23 shots from the Capitals for his second shutout of the campaign to help Carolina (17-24-8) claim a first win over their Southeast Division rivals in four attempts this season.
Mike Knuble and Cody Eakin had the two best chances for the Capitals (25-19-2) and while the puck eluded Ward on both occasions, the goal posts came to the Hurricanes’ rescue.
BLACKHAWKS 3, PANTHERS 1
In Chicago, the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane ended a seven-game goal drought as Chicago claimed the overall NHL lead with a victory over the Florida Panthers.
Kane also set up linemate Jonathan Toews’ breakaway score, while defenseman Duncan Keith added his first goal in 30 games to help Chicago overtake Detroit for the league lead. The Blackhawks are 5-0-1 in their past six games.
The Panthers dropped their eighth straight on the road and missed a chance to move clear of Washington and take the outright lead in the Southeast Division.
PENGUINS 5, CANADIENS 4, SO
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Evgeni Malkin scored in his fifth straight game and added the lone goal in the shootout to give the Penguins victory over Montreal.
Pittsburgh won their fifth straight, with Malkin capping a two-goal third-period rally with his 25th of the season with 2 minutes, 43 seconds left in regulation. The NHL scoring leader then beat Peter Budaj in the shootout.
Dustin Jeffrey scored twice and added an assist for Pittsburgh, while Kris Letang had a goal and an assist.
Andrei Kostitsyn and Erik Cole each had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens. Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty also scored.
LIGHTNING 2, STARS 1
In Dallas, Teddy Purcell scored twice to give Tampa Bay a tight win over Dallas.
Mathieu Garon made 27 saves for the Lightning.
Tom Wandell scored for the Stars, who have only one win from their past six games.