Devils Rally To Down Caps, 5-4 (OT); Joe Snively, Tom Wilson Score In Season Finale

Photo: Twitter: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals closed out their 2022-23 season Thursday night with a 5-4 (OT) loss to the New Jersey Devils. The Capitals end the season with a 35-37-10 record (82 points), 6th place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Capitals erupted for three goals in the first 10 minutes of the first frame. Joe Snively started the scoring less than five minutes into the contest, Rasmus Sandin followed with his seventh goal of the season less than 90 seconds later and Craig Smith potted his 200th career goal just past the midway point of the first period. The Devils answered late for a 3-1 total at the first intermission.

Tom Wilson added his 13th goal of the season just over a minute into the middle frame, but the Devils added a power play goal with less than 90 seconds remaining in the middle frame to make it 4-2 at the second break.

The Devils closed the gap to 4-3 early in the final frame and tied the game with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation, eventually sending the game to overtime. The Devils won it in overtime with a goal from Luke Hughes, his first career goal in the NHL.


Darcy Kuemper (22-26-6, 2.83 GAA, .910 sv%) got the start in goal for the Capitals. Mackenzie Blackwood (10-6-2, 3.04 GAA, .899 sv%) got the nod for the visiting Devils. The Capitals forward lines and defensive pairs for Game 82:

Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – Craig Smith
Conor Sheary – Dylan Strome – Tom Wilson
Sonny Milano – Evgeny Kuznetsov — Joe Snively/Anthony Mantha
Beck Malenstyn – Aliaksei Protas – Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Martin Fehervary – John Carlson
Rasmus Sandin – Nick Jensen
Alex Alexeyev – Trevor van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper
Reid Cooper

The Capitals announced Thursday morning that they have signed goaltender Reid Cooper of Curry College to an ATO to serve as Darcy Kuemper’s backup tonight, with Charlie Lindgren out with an injury. [MORE HERE]


The Capitals opened the scoring on a snipe from Joe Snively (2) at 4:36. Sonny Milano (22) had the lone assist.

Less than 90 seconds later the Capitals made it 2-0 on Rasmus Sandin’s seventh goal of the season at 5:59. Nicklas Backstrom (14) and Alex Ovechkin (33) had the helpers.

The Capitals stretched their lead to 3-0 at 10:18 with a close-range goal from Craig Smith (9) at 10:18. It was Smith’s 200th career NHL goal. The goal was unassisted.

The Devils finally dented the twine at 17:06. Erik Haula (13) notched the Devils first tally, assisted by Yegor Sharangovich (17) and Luke Hughes (1). It was Hughes’ first career NHL point.

The first period concluded with the Capitals leading, 3-1. The Devils doubled up the Capitals in five-on-five shot attempts, 26-13 and xGF 1.27 to .63 in the first.


The Capitals stretched their lead to 4-1 on Tom Wilson’s 13th goal of the season at 1:05 of the second period. Nick Jensen (24) and Dylan Strome (42) had the helpers.

The Devils added a power play goal from Miles Wood with less than 90 seconds remaining in the middle frame to make it 4-2, the score at the second intermission.


The Devils closed the gap to 4-3 early in the final frame. Erik Haula scored his second goal of the night at 3:17 of the final frame.

The Devils eventually tied the game late in the final frame on a Dougie Hamilton shot from the point at 12:23 of the third period.

The third period ended with the game tied 3-3.


The Devils won it in the extra frame. Luke Hughes had the honors.


  • Joe Snively scores his second goal of the season to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. The Herndon, Virginia native has recorded 11 points (6g, 5a) in 24 career NHL games with the Capitals (0.46 P/GP).
  • Sonny Milano recorded the primary assist on the Capitals’ first goal, his 22nd assist of the season. Since making his Capitals debut on Nov. 5, 2022, Milano ranks fourth on the team in even-strength points (28).
  • Rasmus Sandin scores his seventh goal of the season to extend the Capitals’ lead to 2-0. This season, Sandin has set career highs in games played (71), goals (7), assists (28) and points (35), more than doubling his previous career-high point total (2021-22: 16p).
  • Nicklas Backstrom recorded the primary assist on the Capitals’ second goal, his 14th assist of the season. It marks Backstrom’s 761st career assist, tying him with Bernie Federko for the 43rd-most assists in NHL history.
  • Alex Ovechkin recorded the secondary assist on the Capitals’ second goal, his 33rd assist of the season. Ovechkin, 37, is just one of 14 players in the NHL to record at least 40 goals and 30 assists this season.
  • Skaters with 40 or more goals and 30 or more assists this season followed by their age: Alex Ovechkin (37), Connor McDavid (26), Leon Draisaitl (27), David Pastrnak (26), Jason Robertson (23), Matthew Tkachuk (25), Mikko Rantanen (26), Jack Hughes (21), Tage Thompson (25), Brayden Point (27), Auston Matthews (25), Kirill Kaprizov (25), Carter Verhaeghe (27), Jared McCann (26).
  • Craig Smith scores his ninth goal of the season and the 200th of his career to extend the Capitals’ lead to 3-0. Smith, the 98th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, is the 12th player from his draft class to reach the 200-goal mark.
  • Tom Wilson scored his 13th goal of the season, extending his his goal and point streaks to four games (4g, 2a). Wilson’s current goal streak is the second longest of his career (6 games, 11/21/18-12/2/18: 7g). Wilson has recorded 11 points (5g, 6a) in his last 12 games.
  • Nick Jensen recorded the primary assist on Wilson’s goal, his 24th assist of the season. Fourteen of Jensen’s 24 assists this season have been primaries and 23 have come at even strength.

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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31 Responses to Devils Rally To Down Caps, 5-4 (OT); Joe Snively, Tom Wilson Score In Season Finale

  1. KimRB says:

    By my calculations, we “lose” the tie breaker with Detroit, due to fewer regulation wins. So we finish 8th worst, with a 6% chance of getting first overall. We can draft 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th or 10th. Deep draft, so it’s a potential franchise player, no matter where we pick.

  2. Anonymous says:

    All eyes on tomorrow’s sports headlines
    More than one NHL Head Coach will be fired
    Will HCPL be one of them?

    • KimRB says:

      Unfortunately, the word is that PL will not be fired. Frank Seravilli of TSN said the Caps would let him make the decision whether to come back.

      Yeah, for real. That’s how it goes in Leonsis Lala Land

    • novafyre says:

      No, Lavi won’t. Not based on comments and rumors. Caps are going to take their time, do interviews with players, etc. Also, he does not have to be fired. His contract is up in June. So the decision will be to not offer him an extension not to fire him.

      I still believe Caps will offer him an extension. It will then be up to him. He might not want to come back or might be wooed by another team.

    • novafyre says:

      Tyler Wall of the South Carolina Stingrays is the Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week for March 27-April 2. It is the second time this season that he has received the weekly honor. Wall went 2-0-0 with a 1.89 goals-against average and a save percentage of .941 in two appearances last week.

      Under contract to Hershey of the American Hockey League, Wall is 21-10-1 in 33 appearances with the Stingrays this season. He is tied for ninth in the ECHL with a 2.63 goals-against average and is tied for 14th with a .910 save percentage. Wall enters the final week of the regular season with 10 consecutive wins.

      • KimRB says:

        Our system has goaltenders coming out the wazoo. Probably be Clay in Hershey, Gibson in SC, and Chase Clark starting at Quinnipiac next season. And an FA will have to be signed for Hershey. Good problem to have, though. Is this Wall kid worth bringing to Hershey?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Such a suitable end to the season.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a crappy finish

    • novafyre says:

      Earned a point against the Devils. Pits struggled to earn a point tonight against the Blue Jackets, 32nd team in the league.

    • KimRB says:

      New Jersey had something to play for. If they had won, and Carolina lost, they would have won the division. Getting a point against a desperate team is a moral victory, at least.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It was a rough season, still wouldn’t want to support any other team. Let’s hope everyone rests up, some of the Bears can make the jump and the injury bug goes after someone else for a change. Oh, and maybe a bit of luck in the draft lottery, lol.

  6. Lance says:

    Caps get the 8th overall pick in the draft this summer (unless they win the lottery or a team or two behind them win the lottery. Wherever the pick, I like our chances of getting a 1st line star.

    • Diane Doyle says:

      If the draft’s as deep as the 2015 draft, we should get a good player. That was the spot where William Nylander was drafted that season. (That was also the year we missed out on Pasta.. sigh. But that’s why Boston is where they are and the Caps are where they are.)

      • Lance says:

        8th overall is a valuable pick. Wouldn’t cost too much to trade up to 5th overall if there’s a guy available who they love.

        Miro looks like a potential 1st line winger. Our other prospects look like bottom 9 forwards and bottom 4 D. It’s gonna take years to build another contender. We better hit on this year’s pick.

        • KimRB says:

          Trading down is a possibility too. If ever there’s a draft to trade down, it’s this one. You could get a similar quality player, by trading down 3 or 4 spots, and maybe pick up a 2nd round pick. I’d do it.

          • GRin430 says:

            It depends on how those ping pong balls bounce. No way I’d trade out of the top two this year.

            I agree with you that if they end up 9-10th, trading down might make sense, depending on the return. F’rinstance, St. Louis has three 1st rounders this year… I’d certainly take 12 and 25 or 27 in exchange for 9 or 10…

            • KimRB says:

              If you can get an extra 1st just for moving down 2 or 3 spots, then great. I don’t see it happening though. Unless that team really has its heart set on some kid. A 2nd is more realistic. If the other team wants to swap more than 5 spots I’d ask for a 2nd and 3rd. There’s a lot of very high quality going up to about 20th or so, in this draft

        • GRin430 says:

          That’s a bit too harsh of an evaluation on the prospect pool. Iorio and Chesley both have top pair tool sets, the question is whether they reach their potential. And both are right shots, so that means that if the Caps end up with both in the lineup, one won’t be a top pair defender for sure.

          Frank has elite speed and a cannon shot. I haven’t watched enough of him to know about the rest of his game, but just those two tools make him a top-line prospect.

          Lapierre and Suzdalev have top line skating and hands, but the rest of their game isn’t fully developed yet. I don’t necessarily believe that they’re superstars, but it isn’t hard to believe that they could develop into first liners.

          You’re right about the rest of the current pool though — the Caps have a surplus of bottom-6/9 forwards and bottom pair defenders. That’s the problem when you draft near the end of each round for most of the past 20 years. The number of superstars found after the top few players selected each year is extremely small.

          That’s why I wanted the Caps to lose this year once it became obvious they weren’t good enough to even make the playoffs, let alone challenge for a championship. They’ll likely get a good player at 8/9/10, but Bedard and Fantilli are exceptional prospects, and there appear to be a total of 5-6 guys who would be credible first overall picks most years. But once you get past that first handful, the probability of finding a player who can carry a team diminishes significantly. It’s not impossible, just less likely.

          • Lance says:

            Thanks for your thoughtful post. We’ve had a good (almost great) team for such a long time. We hit on a lot of prospects: Semin, Ovie, Backstrom, Alzner for awhile, Green, Varlamov, Holtby, Carlson, Kuzy, Wilson, Forsberg, Orlov. We hit on trades with Oshie, Eller, Kempny. BMac signed Orpik and Niskanen. We’re pretty far from having that kind of elite skill and depth and toughness right now.

            Strome and Sandin are solid. Alexeev, Fehervary look like 2nd pair D. Iorio and Chesley have potential. But we’re gonna need about 4 star players at least. I’m not seeing them.

          • KimRB says:

            I don’t buy that “we draft late, so we can’t find the talent” deal. Dallas found 2/3rds of what many consider to now be the best line in hockey, in the 2nd round. Both are 100 point players. It’s not where you draft, it’s how you draft and develop, that is key.

            • KimRB says:

              Need to correct myself. Hintz isn’t a 100 point guy. More like 80. My contention still holds, though

  7. Lance says:

    I’ve seen enough of Laviolette. The Caps are not going to succeed with him as the head coach. He’s had a good career. It’s time for a new coach here.

  8. Anonymous says:

    That season is gonna leave a mark.

  9. Diane Doyle says:

    It would have been a dispiriting loss, had I attended in person. Another blown big lead. (I was too burned out this week to attend the games on Monday and tonight.)

    This was a season where they were practically the worst team in the league for the second half of the season. The only team lower in points and percentage was San Jose. The Caps had less points for the second half of the year than Chicago who was actively tanking, Arizona who was having a Coyote Ugly season as usual, Montreal who is bad, tanking, and lost a ton of players to injury, and Anaheim who rarely wins in regulation and recently had a long losing streak.

    It was the type of second half that makes me want to jettison most of the team this off season and I mean jettison nearly anybody. Certainly, the Head Coach and certainly Blaine Forsythe.

  10. Jon Sorensen says:

    • Anonymous says:

      Backstrom has been getting better the more he played which is encouraging. I don’t expect him to turn back the clock by a decade or anything but I’m curious to see what he’ll look like after a proper off-season and stable line mates. Same with Carlson and Wilson.

      Ovi and Oshie were obviously fighting through injuries for most of the second half of the season. They’re the same type of player, putting up points out of sheer determination, but they both really need some rest.

      Sandin and Strome are really, really nice additions.

      Kuzy remains an enigma. Is it just the natural decline of a player hitting 30? Was it the coach? Was he just not feeling it this season? Who knows, good luck GMBM trying to figure it out. I hope he rediscovers his form and stays otherwise McMikey might come for his job.

  11. franky619 says:

    Hopefully BMac has the guts to make the necessary moves this summer, trades buy out to clear some cap space. An experienced top 4d would be a great add to help stabilise that young but promising defense. I know Bmac said he wants to bring a scoring winger but a top six center, a good 2 way center would allow Kuzy to move to the wing which might not be a bad thing. Players with Kuzy skillset are hard to find.

    • dwgie26 says:

      He does have the balls. I still think he has been appropriately aggressive and done a good job given the cap space and mandate to keep the core old guys. This year he will have the most flexibility he has had in a long time. We now know we’ll have a new coaching staff, having moved a lot of vets at TDL, and some others at the end of season.

      I hope we can move Kuzy and Mantha and that frees up a lot of spots for some second year guys like Protas, Snively, and Malenstyn to become regulars. And some others who will compete including McMichael and Frank. Call-ups being Lappy, Iorio, along with McMichael and Frank who will be waivers exempt.

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