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Cole, Brind'Amour lead Hurricanes past Capitals

Nov 18, 2006 - 2:37 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Erik Cole continues to make life miserable for the Washington Capitals.

Cole had a goal and three assists, Rod Brind'Amour scored twice with two assists and John Grahame made 21 saves to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-1 victory over the Capitals.

After scoring 30 goals to help Carolina win the Stanley Cup last season, the 28-year-old Cole recorded a hat trick in his last outing against Washington on November 9. He torched the Capitals again Friday, breaking a scoreless tie in the second period and helping the Hurricanes win for the fourth time in five games.

"The first couple of shifts, it seemed like they were taking it to us," Cole said. "We picked up some momentum (and) had a couple of power-play opportunities that we were able to capitalize on. We continued on a roll there."

"I think that when we're playing our game, it doesn't have to happen in the first period," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "It can grind teams down and wear them down a little bit, having to play in their end. I think that over the course of time, we can get the results we want. It requires a lot of work."

Carolina took advantage of Washington defenseman Shaone Morrisonn's holding-the-stick penalty to open the scoring with 5:11 remaining in the middle session.

Netminder Olaf Kolzig stopped Andrew Hutchinson's blast from inside the blue line before Cole chipped the rebound inside the right goalpost for his seventh tally of the season.

It took the Hurricanes just 1:46 to add another power-play goal after Donald Brashear was whistled for holding. Cole sent a soft pass across the front of the crease to Brind'Amour, who fired the puck over a sprawling Kolzig for his ninth tally and a 2-0 lead.

Ray Whitney added his eighth goal at 5:33 of the third period when he took a cross-ice feed from Brind'Amour and fired a one-timer from the left faceoff circle past Kolzig.

"We didn't want to get into exchanging chances with them," Whitney said. "We tried to be as patient as possible. Our game picked up in doing that. Our power play was good tonight and it's always big when you do well on the power play."

"They're the champions," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. "They played well and we're 1-2 against them. We're trying to strive to achieve to get to their level. ... Tonight, they didn't make many mistakes."

Cole set up Brind'Amour's second goal of the game and 10th of the season with 1:47 to play, giving the Hurricanes' captain six tallies in his last six contests and his second multi-goal game of the season.

"We're not where we want to be," Brind'Amour said. "We're in the middle of the pack. We definitely feel better the way we've been playing of late. We've got to keep it up because we're not where we want to be yet."

Making his first appearance in 10 contests, Grahame stopped seven shots in the first period, six in the second and yielded only a power-play goal to Richard Zednik at 9:28 of the third en route to his first victory of the season.

"It always feels good to get back in there," Grahame said. "I had a little bit of a layoff. You try and get into the game as quick as you can. Guys played real well in front. They kept everything to the outside. It made it a lot easier."

"I thought he looked real sharp right from the start," Cole said. "He works hard in practice. He's one of those guys that even if he does miss some time, he stays on top of things. He went out and played a great game for us."

The 2000 Vezina Trophy winner, Kolzig made 25 saves and fell to 6-4-3 for the Capitals, who have dropped three of their last five.

"They're a much more improved team than the beginning of the season," Kolzig said. "I think that has to do with they had a short summer and just getting back into the grind again."

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