Photo: Andy Marlin/Getty Images
The Washington Capitals concluded their four-game Eastern Conference road trip with a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Tuesday night. The win put the Capitals two points ahead the New York Islanders, who fell 5-0 to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division with each team down to nine games remaining in the regular season. Goaltender Pheonix Copley made 20 saves in the win.
Defenseman Christian Djoos, who skated in his 100th career NHL game, dressed for the first time since February 23, stepping in for Brooks Orpik who served as a healthy scratch against the Devils. Center Nic Dowd drew into the fourth-line center spot in favor of center Travis Boyd.
Forward Andre Burakovsky zipped a shot from the left circle upstairs on goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood after getting it from Dowd at the goal-line to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead 2:53 into the game.
Forward Kenny Agostino let it go from out high after the puck came right to him and he beat Copley blockerside to tie the game for the Devils with one second left.
The Capitals led 6-1 in blocked shots and had no giveaways while the Devils had one in the first. They went 0-for-1 on the man advantage in the opening frame.
The Devils led 7-4 in shots, 9-6 in hits, and 6-4 in takeaways after 20 minutes of play. They won 53% of the faceoffs in the opening period.
Forward Brett Connolly tipped in Djoos’ shot at the net mouth in front of Blackwood for his 20th goal of the season 5:57 into the period to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead.
Center Evgeny Kuznetsov called his own number on a two-on-one with forward T.J. Oshie and went five-hole on Blackwood for his 19th of the season and 99th of his career to make it 3-1 12:16 in.
Forward Tom Wilson slid it under Blackwood 1:42 later from a sharp angle after getting a cross-ice pass from captain Alex Ovechkin to extend the lead to 4-1. Center Nicklas Backstrom also earned his 50th assist for the sixth straight season on the play.
The Capitals led 13-12 in shots, including 9-5 in the second, 7-4 in blocked shots, and had no giveaways while the Devils had two after 40 minutes. They won 53% of the faceoffs in the first two periods.
The Devils led 15-12 in hits and 8-4 in takeaways through two.
Each team went 0-for-1 on the power-play in the first two periods.
The Capitals led 22-21 in shots, 8-6 in blocked shots, and had one giveaway while the Devils had six. They went went 0-for-1 on the power-play.
The Devils led 21-15 in hits and 11-5 in takeaways. They won 55% of the faceoffs and went 0-for-2 on the power-play.
Each team recorded nine shots in the final frame.
The Capitals come back home from their road trip to take on the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night. Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBCSN beginning at 7:30 PM ET.
By Harrison Brown