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Captain Alex Ovechkin scored the 700th goal in his NHL career but the Washington Capitals fell the New Jersey Devils by a score of 3-2 at Prudential Center as their losing streak extended to four. They remain tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division, though the Penguins have a game in hand. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who made his first start in five games, made 26 saves in the loss.
Capitals‘ Lines at Devils
Capitals lines vs Devils today at 1PM:— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) February 22, 2020
Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler came into the lineup in favor of Radko Gudas on the backend while forward Brendan Leipsic drew in in favor of Travis Boyd up front. The Capitals flipped centers Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom in the top-six forward group and defensemen Michal Kempny and Nick Jensen on the blue line.
Forward Jesper Bratt deked inside out and beat Samsonov blocker side on a breakaway while he was down after getting sprained all alone by defenseman Damon Severson from the defensive down to make it 1-0 Devils at 12:55. It marked the seventh time in the last eight games where the Capitals allowed the first goal.
The Capitals led 11-7 in shots, 4-3 in blocked shots, 15-9 in hits, and didn’t convert on two early power-plays in the first.
The Devils led 6-1 in takeaways, won 54% of the draws, and didn’t get a power-play in the opening 20 minutes.
Each team recorded two giveaways in the opening period.
Capitals center Lars Eller did not play again after he was on the ice for the goal while defenseman Michal Kempny only played 3:21 in the first.
Samsonov flashed the glove on Gusev after he one-timed a pass from behind the net.
Forward Wayne Simmonds slammed in forward Nikita Gusev’s shot off the post in the crease to make it 2-0 on the power-play with 7:48 left in the second.
Forward Tom Wilson tipped in defenseman John Carlson’s blast from the point in front of Devils goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood on the power-play with 5:16 to go. Carlson passed Calle Johansson as the franchise leader in points among defenseman (474). He also established a new career-high in points with his 71st of the season.
Tommy gets us on the board! pic.twitter.com/5j1MwgI4nk— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 22, 2020
The Capitals led 22-20 in shots, 23-13 in hits, had five giveaways while the Devils had six, and went one-for-four on the power-play in the opening 40 minutes.
The Devils led 13-11 in second-period shots, 10-2 in takeaways, won 55% of the draws, and scored on their lone power-play in the first two periods.
Each team was credited with seven blocked shots through two.
Captain Alex Ovechkin blasted a one-timer from the doorstep for his 700th career NHL goal after getting fed from behind the net by Kuznetsov to tie it 4:50 into the third. He became the second-fastest and youngest player to hit the milestone and the eighth overall.
Alex 👑 OvechKING 💯💯💯💯💯💯💯 pic.twitter.com/YCQHGZblsG— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 22, 2020
Severson wristed one to the top corner from the right dot after getting a cross-rink pass from Gusev on the power-play to give the Devils the lead back with 1:59 left.
The Capitals led 35-29 in shots, including 13-9 in the third, 29-20 in hits, and went one-for-six on the power-play.
The Devils led 13-11 in third-period shots, 18-12 in blocked shots, 12-5 in takeaways, had six giveaways while the Capitals had 10, and scored on two of their three power-plays.
Each team earned a split on the faceoff dot.
The Capitals come home to host the Penguins on Sunday afternoon in their final game before the NHL Trade Deadline. Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBC beginning at 12 noon ET.
By Harrison Brown