Series (Game 1 of 6)

Washington leads 4-1

Game 1: Wednesday, November 12th
Game 2: Saturday, November 15th
Game 3: Friday, January 9th
Game 4: Thursday, January 29th
Game 5: Thursday, February 12th
Game 6: Wednesday, February 25th

Hurricanes 1

(4-6-0, 13 pts)

Capitals 7

(4-11-0, 9 pts)

7:00 PM ET, November 12, 2003

Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia

1 2 3 T
CAR 0 0 11
WSH 1 2 47

R. Lang (Capitals - C): Goals: 3, Assists: 1

O. Kolzig (Capitals - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: .967

D. Zubrus (Capitals - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

Kolzig stops 29 shots

WASHINGTON (AP)-- Robert Lang's early goal got the Washington Capitals off to the kind of start that they needed.

Lang scored the first of his three goals just 1:24 into the first period, helping the Capitals bust out of an offensive slump with a 7-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night.

Dainius Zubrus scored twice and Brian Willsie and Alexander Semin also scored to complement the first hat trick of Lang's career.

"Everything is easier when you score first and don't have to catch up," Lang said. "Everybody sort of caught fire at once."

The Capitals, who had lost 10 of their last 12 coming in, have been waiting for a game like this to help turn around a slow start. Goaltender Olaf Kolzig, who called the Washington's play "embarrassing" after a loss Monday to Los Angeles, made 29 saves against Carolina.

Washington's season-high seven goals put Kolzig in a slightly better mood, but he realizes the Capitals still have a long way to go.

"I'm disappointed with where we're at, but I'm not going to get too excited about this win," Kolzig said. "We're in no position to be overconfident. We're a long way from where we want to be."

The third period saw a goal-scoring flurry when four were scored -- three by Washington -- in a span of 1:16.

Zubrus started the third-period spurt when he scored his second goal of the night 3:34 into the period, a goal that knocked Carolina goalie Kevin Weekes out of the game.

Semin followed with a goal 4:15 into the period, which was answered by Carolina's Ryan Bayda 19 seconds later. Lang ended the scoring spree 16 seconds later, and added his third of the night by knocking in a loose puck in front of the net with 5:16 to play in the game.

"They're talented. If you look at their forwards they have a lot of depth and offensive skill," Weekes said. "Personally I don't care what a team's record is prior to playing them. You always have to respect talent and I don't think we respected that tonight."

Carolina still has just one road win in eight chances this season and never seriously tested Kolzig.

Willsie's power-play goal for Washington with 2:48 to play in the second period ensured the Capitals of scoring three or more goals for just the fourth time this season.

"We've got too much fire power up front to keep us off the scoreboard for too long," Kolzig said. "Tonight, the floodgates opened up a little."

Game notes

The four goals in 1:16 breaks a Washington franchise record for the fastest four goals by two teams in a Capitals' game. The previous mark of 1:26 happened on Dec. 17, 1974 against Vancouver. ... Erik Cole, who missed Sunday's game because of a hyperextended right elbow, was welcomed back to the with a high stick to the face from Washington's Joel Kwiatkowski at 9:12 of the first period. Cole missed about half of the first trying to stop the bleeding, and returned to the rotation late in the period. ... Washington defenseman Steve Eminger returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing the past two games because of a concussion.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press