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Power Play Lifts Capitals Past Carolina, 4-2

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Teammates congratulates an exhausted Alexander Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals after Ovechkin scored his 400th career goal on an empty net in the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes during their game at PNC Arena on Dec. 20, in Raleigh, North Carolina. (credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Teammates congratulates an exhausted Alexander Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals after Ovechkin scored his 400th career goal on an empty net in the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes during their game at PNC Arena on Dec. 20, in Raleigh, North Carolina. (credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Alex Ovechkin scored his 400th career goal, and the Washington Capitals posted three power-play goals in the second period of a 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.

Troy Brouwer, Marcus Johansson and John Carlson scored with the man advantage and Nicklas Backstrom assisted on all four goals to help the second-place Capitals win their fifth in seven games. Ovechkin had an empty netter with 24.5 seconds left.

Jordan Staal and Riley Nash scored for Carolina while Cam Ward stopped 25 shots.

The Hurricanes had earned points in six of their previous seven games. But they’ve dropped four of five with the loss to the Caps.

Washington’s Philipp Grubauer matched a season high with 39 saves — and got some help from the choppy ice after Alexander Semin’s shot with about 6 minutes left trickled just wide of the net.

Ovechkin, who also had an assist, became the sixth-fastest player in NHL history with 400 goals.

The Capitals have the league’s second-best power-play unit with a success rate of nearly 25 percent. They converted all three of their chances in the second.

A fortunate bounce helped the Capitals reclaim the lead at 3-2 with 4:31 left in the period: Mike Green dribbled a shot up the middle that clipped Brouwer on its way past Ward.

That capped a big period for the Capitals’ power play.

Johansson tied it 41 seconds into the period when he stuffed the puck between Ward’s left leg and the post.

Carlson put the Capitals up 2-1 with 11:26 left — and just 14 seconds into a holding minor on Tuomo Ruutu — when his straightaway blast from just inside the blue line got past Ward.

Carolina, which has the league’s third-worst power play, made it 2-all 2:42 later by scoring on the man advantage, with Nash making the most of Andrej Sekera’s rebound.

But they couldn’t convert late after Carlson went off for hooking with 4:50 to play, despite peppering Grubauer with a barrage of shots from close range.

The Hurricanes were playing for the first time since Dec. 14, when they wrapped up a four-point, four-game western swing with a win at Phoenix.

Staal put the Hurricanes up with 2:48 left in the first when he scored on a one-touch pass from Semin, who played seven years with the Capitals before signing with Carolina in July 2012.

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