RALEIGH — The Washington Capitals spoiled the Carolina Hurricanes home opener in a 3-0 shutout at the RBC Center Wednesday.
Caps' center Niklas Backstrom scored on a rebound from the left wing after star center Alex Ovechkin set up winger Mike Knuble on the right wing. Knuble's shot deflected out to Backstrom, who scored at 12:23 in the period to give his team a 2-0 lead.
The Capitals added an empty-netter late, as Washington goalie Michal Neuvirth picked up his first career shutout.
The Capitals scored their first goal at 10:47 in the first period, drawing boos from a home crowd that wanted the goal disallowed for contact on Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward.
A shot from the point from Caps defenseman John Erskine was deflected by Ward. But Caps forward David Steckel fell on top of Ward as he passed to Matt Hendricks, who scored on the open net.
That score holds after the Capitals weathered the storm in the second period, including one good power play from the Hurricanes, which ended on a blind pass from Sergei Samsonov to a Eric Staal.
Staal one-timed the pass from the right circle, but Washington goalie Michal Neuvirth gloved the shot, one of several chances he denied on the fast-paced penalty kill, including rookie Jeff Skinner's wrap-around attempt, which took the officials minutes of film review to decide the puck never crossed the line.
In the starting lineup around center Eric Staal are forwards Jussi Jokinen and Chad LaRose and defensemen Jamie McBain and Joni Pitkanen. Goalie Cam Ward is in the crease for the Canes.
Five minutes into the game, Skinner had a scoring chance on a rebound he nearly put in.
About a minute later Washington Capitals' winger Eric Fehr had an even better chance in front of the net, but he hit the right post.
The Canes had a short-handed chance late in the first period, but a rushing Patrick Dwyer couldn't get Jay Harrison's pass on his tape.