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Hurricanes consummate sale with win

The Associated Press

Hurricanes goalie Scott Darling (33), center Jordan Staal (11), and defenseman Jaccob Slavin celebrate after their victory over the Capitals on Thursday.

The Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — On a historically significant day for the franchise, the Carolina Hurricanes picked up an important regulation victory that helped them move up the standings.

Victor Rask scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, and Scott Darling made 26 saves as the Hurricanes beat the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals 3-1 on Thursday night, hours after the team’s sale to Dallas billionaire Tom Dundon was finalized. The two points helped Carolina leapfrog the idle Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins to move into a playoff position after 43 games.

“Two points in regulation is the only way you can really make up any ground,” coach Bill Peters said. “You better make hay when the sun shines, and it was a nice day here in Washington today.”

It’ll be an even nicer day Friday in Raleigh when Dundon, Commissioner Gary Bettman and previous majority owner Peter Karmanos discuss the sale that should at least temporarily quiet relocation speculation. The NHL on Thursday announced Dundon had completed his purchase of the Hurricanes, who are expected to stay put for the foreseeable future.

“It’s exciting,” said Darling, who won for the first time since Dec. 16 in a rare start. “We all had a chance to meet him. He seems like a great guy. He has a lot of big plans, and we’re excited to see it all unfold.”

Co-captain Jordan Staal scored a short-handed goal, and Sebastian Aho added an empty-netter for Carolina, which improved to 9-7-8 in one-goal games. Winger Justin Williams, who left Washington after two seasons, said the difference between the first-place Capitals and the Hurricanes was the disparity in their performances in tight games.

The Capitals fell to 12-3-3 in one-goal games and had their five-game winning streak and league-best 10-game home winning streak snapped. Players were unhappy that Rask’s goal came after they thought defenseman Brooks Orpik touched the puck to stop play on a delayed penalty call.

“That one we all thought was a clear play on the puck,” Orpik said. “We all were confused by it and frustrated by it, especially when that winds up being the winning goal.”

Lars Eller scored for the third consecutive game, and Braden Holtby made 30 saves for Washington, which lost at home for the first time since Nov. 30.

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