Capitals Drub Devils, 5-2, For Fifth Win In Seven Games

Photo: Andy Marlin/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals defeated the New Jersey Devils by a score of 5-2 at Prudential Center on Saturday afternoon and are 5-1-1 since their four-game regulation losing streak. The win put the Capitals two points ahead of the Boston Bruins and three points ahead of the New York Islanders for first place in the East Division, though the Bruins have two games in hand on the Capitals. Though, the Islanders and Capitals will have both played 20 games by the end of Saturday’s NHL slate. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 22 saves in the victory, his third consecutive start and 16th in the past 17 games.

Capitals’ Lines at Devils

Photo: @Capitals

Captain Alex Ovechkin, who took a maintenance day on Saturday with what appeared to be a lower-body injury suffered in the third period of Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins and was labeled as a game-time decision, played. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov did not play and is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Center Lars Eller took his spot on the top-line while forward T.J. Oshie centered the third-line. Forward Daniel Sprong, who was a healthy scratch for the past seven games, played on Oshie’s right-wing.

First Period

Defenseman Justin Schultz took the puck to the net and fed forward Garnet Hathaway, who buried it past the blocker of Devils goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood at the left post to open the scoring at 3:36. Hathaway is the 15th different Capital to open the scoring 20 games into the season.

Defenseman Brenden Dillon sent a seeing-eye shot past the top glove of Blackwood with Sprong in front and he got a tip on it to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead 5:07 into the game.

Eller called his own number on a three-on-one rush at the side of the goal after getting a feed from forward Conor Sheary from the slot and beat Blackwood to the blocker to extend the lead to 3-0 at 13:40.

Seven seconds into a power play, Devils captain Nico Hischier put one past Vanecek after defenseman P.K. Subban’s shot off of the draw missed the net to make it a two-goal game with 1:44 left in the period.

The Capitals led 14-8 in shots, 6-4 in blocked shots, 4-2 in takeaways, and had two giveaways while the Devils had seven through 20 minutes.

The Devils led 3-2 in hits and scored on their lone man advantage of the period.

Each team won 50% of the draws in the first.

Second Period

Forward Pavel Zacha beat Vanecek from the slot under the blocker after Vanecek lost his stick and was scrambling in the net mouth to get the Devils within one goal 6:09 into the second.

The Capitals led 18-13 shots, 5-4 in takeaways, had two giveaways while the Devils had 12, won 56% of the draws, and didn’t score on their lone power play through 40 minutes.

The Devils led 5-4 in second-period shots, 10-8 in blocked shots, and went one-for-two on the power-play in the first two periods.

Each team posted six hits through two.

Third Period

Forward Jakub Vrana zipped past Hischier after defenseman John Carlson lobbed it into the neutral zone from the defensive zone and he ripped one under the arm of Blackwood to double the Capitals’ lead with 8:11 left.

Center Nic Dowd took the puck to the net after forward Carl Hagelin sent him in to make it 5-2 with under 50 seconds to go.

The Capitals led 15-8 in hits, 9-6 in takeaways, 13-11 in blocked shots, had two giveaways while the Devils had 13, won 51% of the draws, and didn’t score on two power plays.

The Devils led 11-6 in third-period shots, 10-8 in blocked shots, and went one-for-three on the power-play.

Each team posted 24 shots.

The Capitals and Devils will face off again in Newark on Sunday afternoon. NBC Sports Washington will have the coverage beginning at 3 PM ET.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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4 Responses to Capitals Drub Devils, 5-2, For Fifth Win In Seven Games

  1. Anonymous says:

    A decent win. It was getting dicey there in the third period, then Vrana potted the insurance goal.

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

    Need to win these games against bottom-tier opponents. Another score and cruise game, though. Not ideal.

  3. Pingback: Sunday Caps Clips: One Down; Caps @ Devils Game Day

  4. Pingback: Sunday Caps Clips: One Down; Caps @ Devils Game Day - Washington DC Sports Today

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