Thursday, February 29

Hurricanes rout Capitals in potential playoff series preview

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes gave the Washington Capitals something to think about if the division rivals meet in the playoffs.

Martin Necas scored twice, Sebastian Aho added his 29th goal and the Hurricanes routed the Capitals 6-1 on Monday night in a potential first-round preview that got heated. Carolina’s first victory in four meetings this season came with a cost after center Jesperi Kotkaniemi was injured on a hit with 1.8 seconds left.

Before Kotkaniemi limped off from a penalized hit by Lars Eller, the highlight of the night was a heavyweight fight between Brendan Smith and Tom Wilson after tensions simmered for half the game.

Carolina, which leads the Metropolitan Division, moved one point ahead of Florida in the back-and-forth race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, which would likely mean a series against the Capitals.

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