Capitals Defeat Devils, 5-4, To Sweep Season Series; Alex Ovechkin Earns Three Points

Photo: Andy Marlin/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals defeated the New Jersey Devils by a score of 5-4 on Sunday afternoon to sweep the eight-game regular-season series between the two teams. The win lifted the Capitals two points ahead of the New York Islanders for first place in the East Division with both teams having played 38 games this season. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 35 saves in the victory.

Capitals’ Lines at Devils

Photo: @Capitals

The Capitals made no line changes from their 2-1 overtime win at the Devils on Friday other than in goal. Forward Jakub Vrana was a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

The Devils held forward Kyle Palmeri out of the lineup eight days ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline.

First Period

Center Travis Zajac started the scoring for the Devils with a transition goal from the high slot at 3:17 during a line change for the Capitals.

Forward T.J. Oshie evened things up for the Capitals at the 9:16 mark with a beautiful backhander as he cut to the goal around Dmitry Kulikov and flipped it over Blackwood’s left shoulder. Defenseman Brenden Dillon’s pass out of the defensive zone was tipped by captain Alex Ovechkin before Oshie stretched out to corral the puck and gained control as he fought past Kulikov. The point was Oshie’s seventh in six games.

The Capitals led 10-8 in hits and 7-2 in blocked shots through 20 minutes.

The Devils led 17-5 in shots, 5-4 in takeaways, had two giveaways while the Capitals had three, did not score on one power play, and won 65% of the faceoffs in the first.

Second Period

Forward Conor Sheary received a feed from the top by defenseman Justin Schultz at the high right dot and one-timed the puck past the left pad of goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead 3:21 into the second.

Captain Alex Ovechkin finished off center Nicklas Backstrom’s shot, which squeaked through the legs of Blackwood, from the right dot in the crease to make it 3-1 on the power play at 8:09. The power-play goal was the 265th of Ovechkin’s career, which tied Brett Hull for second in NHL history.

Forward Igor Sharangovich wristed one past the blocker of Samsonov from the slot after flying up the ice and using Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov as a screen to get the Devils within one on a four-on-four with 2:18 remaining.

The Capitals led 18-13 in hits, 10-5 in blocked shots, and went one-for-three on the power play in the first two periods.

The Devils led 31-12 in shots (including 14-7 in the second), had two giveaways while the Capitals had four, did not score on two power plays, and won 55% of the draws through 40 minutes.

Each team was credited with seven takeaways in the opening two stanzas.

Third Period

Forward Carl Hagelin finished off forward Garnet Hathaway’s feed at the side of the net on a two-on-one after Hathaway broke up a pass on the penalty kill to double the Capitals’ lead 2:41 into the third.

Center Evgeny Kuznetsov tapped in Ovechkin’s pass in the crease after Ovechkin outwaited two Devils’ defenders and picked it up in a stick battle to extend the lead to 5-2 at 5:31.

Forward Jesper Bratt beat Samsonov to the left post after Dillon lost a board battle to forward Pavel Zacha below the goal line and Zacha fed Bratt to cut the lead to two with 9:45 remaining.

Center Travis Zajac pounded a cross-ice feed from Zacha at the left dot to make it 5-4 with 4:07 left.

The Capitals led 22-18 in hits, 15-6 in blocked shots, and went one-for-three on the power play.

The Devils led 39-19 in shots, including 8-7 in the third, had three giveaways while the Capitals had four, did not score on four power plays, and won 53% of the draws.

Each team recorded nine takeaways.

The Capitals conclude their five-game New York metropolitan area road trip in Long Island where they will visit the Islanders on Tuesday. Action from Nassau Coliseum/NYCB Live can be seen on NBC Sports Washington beginning at 7 PM ET.

By Harrison

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 Defeat Devils, 5-4, To Sweep Season Series; Alex Ovechkin Earns Three Points

  1. Anonymous says:

    Another one goal game. But I’ll take it. Off to the Island for redemption.

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

    Net up, redemption game. Hopefully they have a little better showing against the Islanders on Tuesday. I think we’ll learn a few things from that game.

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