Capitals Defeat Devils, 4-3; Wilson Extends Point-Streak To Four, Kuznetsov To 12

Photo: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals defeated the New Jersey Devils by a score of 4-3 at Capital One Arena on Saturday night to get within one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs (who have three games in hand) for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, three behind the New York Rangers (two) for third in the Metropolitan Division, and four back of the Pittsburgh Penguins (one) for second. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 35 saves in the win.

Capitals’ Lines vs. Devils

Graphic: @Capitals

Right-wing T.J. Oshie returned to the lineup after missing three games with a lower-body injury, bumping Tom Wilson down a line and defenseman Matt Irwin out.

Scratched: None

Injured: C Nic Dowd (upper-body, missed fourth straight game, day-to-day); Trevor Van Riemsdyk (upper-body, fourth, week-to-week); LW Carl Hagelin (eye, 11th, indefinitely); LW Joe Snively (upper-body, 11th, week-to-week); C Johan Larsson (lower-body, 23rd, week-to-week)

First Period

5:13 in, Vanecek freezed a rebound off of center Dawson Mercer’s shot after diving back and getting a stick on it. Right-wing Yegor Sharangovich was at the door step but could not get it.

The Capitals led 5-3 in takeaways and had one giveaway while the Devils put up four in the first.

The Devils led 10-7 in shots over the course of the period.

Each team tallied five hits, four blocked shots, split the faceoff battle, and did not score on their lone power play of the period.

Second Period

Center Jack Hughes ripped a shot off the post and in from the right dot after Sharangovich retrieved a rebound, circled the lower offensive zone, and fed him from the lower dot to open the scoring for the Devils 55 seconds in.

Wilson one-timed a cross-ice feed from left-wing Conor Sheary, who outwaited a sliding Ryan Graves, through the five-hole of goaltender Nico Daws on a two-on-one to tie it 1:52 later. Wilson has two goals and five points during a four-game point-streak while Sheary has recorded 13 points (five goals) in his last 17 games.

Devils center Michael McLeod and Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen scrapped after Jensen laid a huge open ice hit on him near the corner at 6:12 but the officials broke it up.

Devils defenseman Damon Severson bombed one to the high glove from out high through a screen after right-wing T.J. Oshie lost a draw and he went around left-wing Anthony Mantha to give the Devils their lead back 7:17 into the second.

The Capitals led 8-7 in takeaways, 19-15 in hits, had five giveaways while the Devils were credited with seven, and were held scoreless on their first power play in the first two periods.

The Devils led 22-16 in shots (including 12-9 in the second), 7-5 in blocked shots, won 54% of the draws, and did not score on two opportunities on the man advantage through 40 minutes.

Third Period

Center Connor McMichael tipped in a fake shot pass by defenseman Justin Schultz from down low at the doorstep with nothing but net to look at while the Capitals were moving the puck around on a delayed penalty to tie it 2:08 into the third. Defenseman John Carlson picked up his second assist of the night on the goal, his ninth multi-assist game of the season, which is tied with captain Alex Ovechkin for the most on the Capitals.

Center Nicklas Backstrom wristed one off the post and in after getting a loose puck, Mantha broke up a Devils attempt to exit the defensive zone, and he got it to Backstrom to give the Capitals the lead at 6:56.

Ovechkin slammed home a feed by Kuznetsov from the goal-line at the post blocker-side on goaltender Nico Daws to double the Capitals’ lead on the power-play with 8:12 left. The 36-year-old has scored 10 goals in his last 12 games and 42 this season. Kuznetsov extended his career-long point-streak to 12 (seven goals, 15 points) and moved into 10th on the franchise assist rankings with the 331st of his career.

Right-wing Jesper Bratt tapped in a goal into an open cage after Vanecek robbed Hughes’ shot from the side to cut the Capitals’ lead to one with 31.9 seconds left.

The Capitals led 25-20 in hits and converted once on their two power plays.

The Devils led 38-22 in shots (including 16-6 in the third), 17-8 in blocked shots, won 55% of the draws, had nine giveaways while the Capitals earned 10, and did not score on two opportunities on the man advantage.

Each team earned 10 takeaways.

Next game: Monday vs. Carolina Hurricanes (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington locally, NHL Network nationally)

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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1 Response to Capitals Defeat Devils, 4-3; Wilson Extends Point-Streak To Four, Kuznetsov To 12

  1. novafyre says:

    I believe that Ovi tied Wayne tonight for most goalies scored on — 156.

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