The tandem looks for a second consecutive high-scoring night against the Washington Capitals as Carolina visits the Verizon Center on Saturday to conclude a home-and-home series.
The Hurricanes (26-19-6) dropped their final two games entering the All-Star break, including a 5-2 loss at to the Capitals on Jan. 18. The result was much better for Carolina on Friday, though, as the Hurricanes scored three times in the second period and outshot Washington 41-26 en route to a 6-2 victory.
Justin Williams, who scored a goal in his first All-Star game earlier this week, had two goals and an assist Friday in his fourth multipoint game of the season. Linemate Ray Whitney added a goal and three assists—two of them on the goals by Williams.
“That’s why (Whitney) is out there,” Williams said. “He’s an unbelievable playmaker, one of the best in the league, I think. He’s very underrated in that aspect in that he doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves for the little stuff that he does out there, and you can tell by his points this year, the way he racks up assists and helps his linemates.”
Rod Brind’Amour, who centers the line with Whitney and Williams, started off the scoring at 4:00 of the opening period on a goal where both wings assisted.
Whitney now has 57 points, surpassing his total of 55 in 63 games in 2005-06, his first year with the Hurricanes. The career high for the 15-year veteran is 76 points, set in 2002-03 with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Whitney has four goals and nine assists during his current eight-game points streak.
Friday’s defeat was the 15th by three goals or more for the Capitals (20-22-7) this season—the most such losses among Eastern Conference teams. Brent Johnson made 35 saves, but also allowed at least six goals for the second time this season.
“We’ve got to realize these 5-4, 6-2, 6-1 games, they don’t look good and it’s semi-embarrassing,” Johnson said.
Washington has dropped five of its last six games—allowing five goals or more in four of them—and now leads the Florida Panthers by just one point for last place in the Southeast Division. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes trail Atlanta by six points for the division lead and are tied with Ottawa for the fifth-most points in the East.
Carolina holds a 3-2 edge in the eight-game season series with the Capitals. The rivals have split two meetings at Washington.
Alexander Ovechkin scored his team-leading 30th goal Friday for the Caps, extending his overall points streak to 10 games. The second-year forward has five goals and 11 assists during the run, which spans the month of January.
Despite the loss, the Capitals are 15-6-3 when Ovechkin scores a goal. Washington is 5-16-4 when Ovechkin does not find the back of the net.