Capitals Dump Devils, 3-2; Ilya Samsonov Wins In First Start Since January 17; Nicklas Backstrom Scores 10th Goal Of Season

Photo: Bruce Bennett/NHL via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Ilya Samsonov stopped 18 of 20 shots faced in his first start since January 17. The win improves the Capitals record to 11-5-4 (26 points) on the season.


Ilya Samsonov (1-0-0-1, 3.36 GAA, .868 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Capitals. MacKenzie Blackwood (5-3-0-1, 2.52 GAA, .924 sv%) started in goal for the Devils. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals:

Scratches: Evgeny Kuznetsov (lower body injury), Trevor van Reimsdyk, Jonas Siegenthaler.

Ilya Samsonov was re-called from Hershey to the Capitals taxi squad on Saturday and transferred from the taxi squad to the roster on Sunday.

The Devils opened the scoring with a goal from Mikhail Maltsev (2) at 6:45 of the first frame.

The Capitals would tie the game with a goal from Jakub Vrana (7) at 15:39 of the first period. Tom Wilson (9) and Brendan Dillon had the helpers.

The period would end with the game tied 1-1. Capitals led in shot attempts 20-18 and shots on goal 13-7. The Capitals led in scoring chances 8-5 in the first frame. There were no power plays in the first period.

The Capitals took their first lead of the game with a goal from Nicklas Backstrom (10) at 2:32 of the middle frame. Tom Wilson (10) and Jakub Vrana (7) had the helpers.

But the Devils would answer right back with a goal from Yegor Sharangovich (2) less than a minute later, at 3:20 of the second period, making it 2-2.

The Capitals would retake the lead with a goal from Alex Ovechkin (7) at 13:37 of the second period. Lars Eller (7) and Nick Jensen (6) had the assists.

The period would end with the Capitals leading 3-2. Shot attempts were tied 11-11 with the Capitals leading shot attempts 31-29. New Jersey led in shots on goal 10-9 in the middle frame, with the Capitals leading 22-17 after two periods. Both teams were 0 for 2 on the power play after two periods.

The Capitals and Devils skated to a scoreless draw in the final frame.

The Capitals are back on the ice on Wednesday when they visit the Bruins in Boston. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM.


  • Ilya Samsonov stopped 18 of 20 shots for a .900 game save percentage.
  • Ilya Samsonov has allowed two goals or fewer in 12 of his 27 career starts (44.4%).
  • Devils led in shot attempts 41-34.
  • Both teams were 0 for 3 on the power play.
  • Devils led in scoring chances 16-15.
  • Capitals led in Expected Goals 61.7-38.3% (xGF%).
  • Capitals won the battle at the dot 67-33%.


  • Today is Jakub Vrana’s birthday. He’s the first Capital to score on his birthday since Matt Niskanen on Dec. 6, 2018. This is the 32nd such occurrence by a Capital since 1979, and the first time Vrana scored on his birthday.
  • Tom Wilson was credited with an assist on Vrana’s goal, Wilson’s ninth assist of the season, which is tied for fourth on the Capitals.
  • Backstrom scored his 10th goal in his 21st game of the season, the fastest Backstrom has reached the mark in a season in his career.
  • Jakub Vrana also picked up an assist on Backstrom’s goal, his second point of the day (1g, 1a).
  • Alex Ovechkin scores his seventh goal of the season. He’s now five goals shy of passing Phil Esposito (717g) for the sixth-most goals in NHL history.
  • In his career, Ovechkin has scored 362 goals on the road, tied with Steve Yzerman for the second-most road goals in NHL history. Wayne Gretzky holds the record with 402 road goals.
  • Tom Wilson recorded two assists against New Jersey, marking his fourth multi-point game in 19 games this season. Wilson’s 17 points (7g, 10a) this season ranks tied for third on the Capitals.
  • The Capitals won 37 of 55 faceoffs (67.3%) against New Jersey. Their 37 faceoff wins and 67.3 faceoff win percentage are both single-game highs this season.
  • The Capitals are 3-0-0 in the second half of back-to-back games this season.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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