RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Anton Khudobin stopped 28 shots to earn his first shutout of the season and help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Washington Capitals 3-0 on Friday night.
Brett Bellemore and Jeff Skinner scored, and Nathan Gerbe added an empty-netter with 10.4 seconds left as the Hurricanes won for the fourth time in six games.
Carolina, last in the Metropolitan Division, moved three points behind seventh-place Columbus.
Braden Holtby stopped 35 shots for the Capitals, who have lost three straight since winning four in a row.
Khudobin had 10 saves in the third period to complete his fourth career shutout. It was just the second of the season for the Hurricanes and their first since Nov. 1, when Cam Ward blanked Arizona 3-0.
Washington, which ranks seventh in the league with an average of 2.92 goals, was shut out for the third time and first since a 1-0 loss to Montreal on Jan. 31.
Carolina was playing for the first time since trading winger Jiri Tlusty to Winnipeg and defenseman — and reigning team MVP — Andrej Sekera to Los Angeles. The deals netted a prospect and three draft picks for the rebuilding club, which will almost certainly miss the playoffs for the sixth straight year.
Meanwhile, despite their recent struggles, the Capitals entered with a nine-point lead over Boston in the race for one of the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots. They had won five straight and nine of 11 at Carolina.
Bellemore put the Hurricanes up 1-0 with 2:39 left in the first when his wrist shot from the blue line got by a screened Holtby. Skinner made it a two-goal game with 9:45 left in the second when he beat Holtby from between the circles.
Bellemore finished an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat trick after getting into a second-period fight with Washington’s Tom Wilson.
NOTES: The Hurricanes held a pregame ceremony to honor Ward, whose 500th career game came Tuesday against Philadelphia. … Washington hit two posts in the first period, with LW Alex Ovechkin and LW Jason Chimera ringing the iron.
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