Carolina Hurricanes rally in the third period, power past Washington Capitals

The Carolina Hurricanes’ top line, stymied in a loss to Boston on Thursday, scored at the most opportune time Friday.

On a late-game power play, Sebastian Aho buried a rebound from the left circle to complete the Canes’ come-from-behind win, and Jake Guentzel added an empty-netter — his second strike of the game — lifting Carolina to a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals at PNC Arena.

The Hurricanes trailed 2-0 after the first period, but chipped away throughout the game, unleashing a barrage of 46 shots on Capitals keeper Darcy Kuemper.

Alex Ovechkin started the scoring for the Capitals — something he’s done many times in his career — when he tucked a bouncing rebound off Pyotr Kochetkov’s left pad past the Canes goalie just 3:31 into the game.

The goal was Ovechkin’s 28th of the season. He added his 29th in the final minute of the first on a contested tip in front of Kochetkov. Off an offensive-zone faceoff, the puck found its way to the point, where John Carlson forced a shot toward the net that Ovechkin caught with his stick to redirect it into the cage.

He’s pushing to reach 30 goals for the 18th time in 18 complete NHL seasons. He had 24 goals in 45 games during the Covid-shortened 2020-21 campaign. Ovechkin is also chasing Wayne Gretzky’s all-time NHL scoring mark of 894 regular-season goals. After Friday’s pair, he’s at 851.

It took a pair of spectacular saves at one end and a bit of puck luck at the other to jog the Canes’ offense into action. Just past the midway point of the second period, at the tail end of a Carolina power play, the Caps’ Tom Wilson broke free for a breakaway. Kochetkov shut him down, and then snared a subsequent chance alone in front for Connor McMichael with his glove as he slid from his right to left.

Moments later, the puck deflected high into the air and toward Kuemper. Guentzel outraced two Washington defenders and flipped the on-edge puck over Kuemper’s glove to cut the Canes’ deficit to one.

Martin Necas cashed in on the Canes’ third power play of the game at 11:40 of the third period, scoring a goal on a one-timer from the top of the left circle — a location often called Ovechkin’s office, given the number of goals he’s scored from that location over the years.

The Hurricanes have one more home game remaining — Sunday at 5 p.m. against Columbus. The Canes finish the season with four games on the road — one each in Boston, St. Louis, Chicago and Columbus.