Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) of Russia, works the puck against Carolina Hurricanes' Phil Di Giuseppe (34) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
Karl B DeBlaker
December 21, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals' top-line scorers don't always have to do it all. Their lower-line forwards gave them enough offense to keep their winning streak going.

Jason Chimera and Michael Latta scored, and the Capitals held on to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 Monday night for their sixth straight victory.

One night after Washington's top two lines combined for six goals in a 7-3 win over the New York Rangers, the bottom two lines took care of the scoring.

''It can't be the power play every game, and the top six guys,'' said third-line forward Jay Beagle, who assisted on Chimera's goal.

''We can't be on them every game to score goals,'' he added. ''It's nice when we're chipping in, and to be successful, especially down the road, you've got to have the third and fourth line chip in.''

Phillipp Grubauer made 31 saves for the Eastern Conference-leading Capitals. They improved to 12-3-1 on the road and enter the holiday break with their second six-game winning streak of the season.

''We're rolling right now, and now we've got a nice little break here,'' Beagle said.

Kris Versteeg scored with 17:42 remaining for the Hurricanes, but Grubauer shut them out the rest of the way.

''I thought we were right there, for sure,'' Carolina coach Bill Peters said.

Cam Ward made 19 stops for Carolina, which had earned points in six of eight games while scoring 28 goals in that span.

Versteeg made this one tense early in the third period, pulling the Hurricanes within one goal when he took a puck off the back boards and tucked it inside the left post from between his legs.

Things got even tighter in the final 1:31 - when an empty-net goal by Nicklas Backstrom was wiped out by a penalty on Washington for having too many men on the ice. The Capitals then killed that penalty, with Grubauer stopping Elias Lindholm with about 20 seconds remaining and Jeff Skinner with less than 10 seconds left.

''We get about three or four chances that bounce just wide,'' Versteeg said. ''That sometimes is the way of the game, but good teams aren't just lucky, they're really good for a reason, and I've been fortunate to have been on some, so we've got a really good team, a young team, and guys are experiencing new situations at a high level. It's going to happen.''

Washington - which also won six in a row from Nov. 21 to Dec. 3 - got off to a strong start when Latta made it 1-0 by hammering in a rebound with 4:08 left in the first. Andre Burakovsky fired a shot into Ward's chest and Latta tapped it past the goalie's skate for his third goal.

That put the Capitals in a pretty good spot - they entered 17-1-0 when scoring first.

Washington picked up an important insurance goal with 7:11 left in the second. Beagle won a draw and sent the puck to John Carlson, who fired toward the net. With Chimera and Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk tied up in front of Ward, the puck clicked off Chimera's skate and went in.

''I felt it hit my skate - it was kind of one of those ones,'' Chimera said. ''We'll take it.''

NOTES: Carlson has a seven-game point streak. ... The Hurricanes called up D Michal Jordan from their AHL affiliate in Charlotte before the game, but scratched him. ... Carolina had 10 power-play goals in its last eight games but was 0 for 3 against the Capitals.


(This version corrects the spelling of Grubauer.)


Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

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