WASHINGTON -- The Carolina Hurricanes aren't just taking control of the Southeast Division. They're trying to run away with it.
On Tuesday night, they were led by three players who are hardy considered impact performers.
Rookie forward Riley Nash
scored two goals, journeyman defenseman Joe Corvo
scored another, and third-string goalie Justin Peters
recorded the second shutout of his NHL career as the Hurricanes distanced themselves from the Washington Capitals
with a 4-0 win at the Verizon Center.
Peters turned aside all 26 shots for his first shutout since blanking the Capitals on Feb. 20, 2012. His biggest save came midway through the second period when, with a 2-0 lead, he closed his pads on a Troy Brouwer breakaway.
The win was the Hurricanes' sixth in seven games and gave them 31 points with a 15-9-1 record. The Capitals (10-14-1) lost for the third straight time and are now 10 points behind the Hurricanes.
Carolina grabbed a 1-0 lead on one of the team's weirdest goals of the season.
Corvo, who spent a brief stint with the Caps in 2009-10, netted his fourth goal of the season 3:55 into the game when he lumbered down the right side of the ice and threw a shot toward the Capitals net from the goal line. The puck bounced off the back of goaltender Braden Holtby
's head and into the cage for a 1-0 lead.
The Hurricanes built on that lead 5:55 into the second period when Nash, playing in just his 16th NHL game, deflected a shot from Jay Harrison past Holtby for his second goal of the season and third of his career.
Nash wasn't done, though. With 1:34 remaining in the second period, Carolina forward Patrick Dwyer
rode Capitals rookie defenseman Cameron Schilling off the puck from behind the net and fed Nash for a one-timer, giving Nash the first two-goal game of his career.
The Hurricanes iced it with 1:21 remaining in the game when Dwyer scored a short-handed, empty-net goal. With the Capitals on the power play and Holtby pulled for an extra attacker, Dwyer scooped up a bouncing puck from Capitals defenseman John Carlson and scored into the empty cage to seal the win.
NOTES: With Capitals defensemen Mike Green (groin), John Erskine (upper body), Tom Poti (upper body) and Jack Hillen (upper body) sidelined by injuries, Schilling made his NHL debut and played on a third defense pairing with fellow rookie Steve Oleksy, who played in his fifth NHL game. The Hurricanes were without goalie Cam Ward (knee), forward Chad LaRose (concussion) and defenseman Joni Pitkanen (lower body). ... In his previous nine games, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom had two goals and eight assists. He was held without a point Tuesday. ... Hurricanes forward and former Capital Alexander Semin entered the game with 10 points in his last five games, and he picked up his first point against his old team with a first-period assist. ... The two teams go right back at it in Raleigh on Thursday night.
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