WASHINGTON -- Jeff Skinner has scored twice and Manny Malhotra has a goal for the Canes, who are tied with the Caps 3-3 after two periods.
Skinner scored a power-play goal as the Canes led 1-0 after the first. But the first five minutes of the second period was a wild offensive show.
Alex Ovechkin tied the score on a bullet of a shot 49 seconds into the period. Malhotra quickly countered for the Canes, scoring off the rush 55 seconds later, but Troy Brouwer's goal made it a 2-2 game.
Steve Oleksy's second goal of the season, on a shot from the left circle, gave the Caps their first lead, 3-2. But Skinner answered 40 seconds later with his second goal, his 19th of the season for a 3-3 tie.
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Make it five goals scored in 4:34.
Ovechkin, who ended a four-game goal drought, scored his league-leading 31st to start the second. Later in the period, Ovechkin was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down by Justin Faulk on a breakaway, but Canes goalie Anton Khudobin made the stop with a pad save.
The Caps carried the play much of the first period but the Canes held a 1-0 lead on Skinner's power-play score.
Skinner scored 12 goals in December, including the two power-play scores that fueled the comeback Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Caps had outshot the Canes 8-1 before they were called for having too many men on the ice at 11:44. Brooks Laich then was whistled for high-sticking Alex Semin, giving the Canes 1:22 of a 5-on-3 advantage.
Semin and Skinner each had shots before Semin set up Skinner for the goal. The top-shelf shot and score by Skinner came with the Caps' Nicklas Backstrom without a stick.
The Caps, second in the league in power-play percentage, had a pose replay at 1:20 of the first after Ron Hainsey was called for holding. The Caps had two shots but the Canes killed off the penalty.
Khudobin, starting his first game for the Canes since Oct. 13, faced 15 shots in each of the first two periods.
Defenseman John-Michael Liles, obtained in the trade Wednesday with Toronto, has been used on the power play and penalty kill.
The Caps were stymied offensively in their past two games, both on the road. They scored one goal in losses at Buffalo and Ottawa despite getting a total of 85 shots on goal -- 50 against the Sabres.
Caps coach Adam Oates then split up his top two lines, moving Ovechkin to the line with Mikhail Grabovski and Eric Fehr. Troy Brouwer was shifted to Nicklas Backstrom's line with Marcus Johansson.
Oates said he was looking for a "little spark, a little chemistry."