Riley Nash scored twice, Joe Corvo put one in off the goaltender's mask, and Justin Peters got his second career shutout Tuesday night as the surging Carolina Hurricanes beat the slumping Washington Capitals 4-0, taking the first leg of a key home-and-home series between the Southeast Division rivals.

Patrick Dwyer added an empty-net goal, and Peters made 26 saves for the Hurricanes, who have won six of seven and have a 10-point lead over the Capitals, whose struggles are one of the big surprises of the lockout-shortened season. The division is essentially becoming a two-team race between Carolina and the Winnipeg Jets.

The Capitals lost their third straight - all by at least a three-goal margin. They were hoping to get back in the race with a sweep of the Hurricanes this week. Instead, the best they can do is a split when they visit Carolina on Thursday.

The Hurricanes' blue line was injury-depleted when they were shut out 3-0 by the Capitals on Feb. 26. The reverse scenario played out Tuesday, with injuries forcing Washington to use three defensemen who began the season in the minors.