WASHINGTON -- Nathan Gerbe was the smallest player on the ice, but he scored the biggest goal of the game Thursday night, netting the game-winner with 6:59 gone in the third period to give the Carolina Hurricanes their first road win of the season, a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.
Rookie Elias Lindholm and Alexander Semin also scored for the Hurricanes, who improved to 2-1-1. Jason Chimera and Alex Ovechkin netted goals for the Capitals, who slipped to 1-3-0.
It was the first of five meetings between the two teams, who moved from the Southeast Division to the new Metropolitan Division this season.
Gerbe, the NHL's smallest player at 5-foot-5, was lurking at the side of the Capitals net when a Justin Faulk shot bounced toward him and he drilled a shot past Washington goaltender Braden Holtby for his third goal of the season.
Starting for the second time this season, Hurricanes goaltender Anton Khudobin looked shaky early on but settled in for his second win of the season. He allowed a big rebound on a shot by Eric Fehr, opening the door for Jason Chimera to fire a long-range shot past him for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead for the Capitals.
Washington carried that lead into the second period, marking the first time they held a lead after any period this season.
The Hurricanes started a three-goal flurry midway through the second period when rookie Elias Lindholm scored his first career goal at the 12:58 mark. Taken fifth overall by the Hurricanes in the 2013 NHL draft, Lindholm ripped a wrister off the stick of Capitals defenseman John Carlson and past Holtby.
The Capitals regained the lead when Ovechkin parked himself in the slot and deflected a shot by defenseman Steve Oleksy past Khudobin. Ovechkin's deflection hit the ice and bounced into the net for his fifth of the season.
It marked the first time in Ovechkin's nine-year NHL career that he has started a season with goals in each of his first four games.
Back-to-back penalties to Washington's Joel Ward (closing his hand on the puck) and John Erskine (interference) gave the Hurricanes a 5-on-3 advantage and sniper Alexander Semin made his former team pay when he rifled a pass from Eric Staal past Holtby to tie the score at 2-2 at 16:14 of the second period.
NOTES: Rookie D Alex Urbom, 22, made his season debut for the Capitals. The former New Jersey Devils blueliner was claimed off waivers Oct. 3. He skated on a third defense pairing with Steve Oleksy. Rookie D Connor Carrick was a healthy scratch for the first time. ... The Capitals continue their season-high five-game homestand Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche. ... Former Washington RW Alexander Semin was booed throughout the night. He entered the game with no points and just two shots in three games. ... The Hurricanes begin a three-game set at home Friday night when they host the Los Angeles Kings. It marks their first of 20 sets of back-to-back games this season. G Cam Ward is expected to get the start.