F or the first time this year, the Devils played the Washington Capitals and it was not a one-gpal game. Instead, this was a 4-0 Caps win, the first time this year the Devils have been shut out.
The win gave Washington six straight wins over New Jersey this season and gave the Caps a two-game sweep over the Devils. It was also the first Friday night game for the Devils.
The only change for the Devils’ lineup was Jesper Boqvist making his first appearance since January 31 and Nick Merkley slotting out. Boqvist was recalled from the taxi squad. Boqvist played on the wing, while Jack Hughes slotted back to center.
The scratches for the Devils were Will Butcher, Aaron Dell and Nikita Gusev.
The Devils turned to Scott Wedgewood in net. Wedgewood made 27 saves on 31 shots for an .871 save percentage. He stopped all six Washington power play shots as the Caps went 0-for-2 on the man advantage. He stopped 21-of-25 at even strength.
The Capitals also went with their backup tonight: Ilya Samsonov. Samsonov was 24-for-24 total, 5-for-5 on the power play (the Devils 0-for-3) and 19-for-19 at even strength in gaining the shutout.
The Caps were in their blue alternate uniforms with the big white “W” on them.
Alex Ovechkin got the scoring kicked off 5:58 into the game just minutes after Jakub Vrana hit he post on a clear breakaway. The goal came when Ovechkin dropped the puck off for Evgeny Kuznetsov at the faceoff circle. Kuznetsov then went against the grain, passing to Ovechkin at the far side and he laid it in for a 1-0 Washington lead.
The Caps’ second goal came 11:50 into the first when Nicklas Backstrom scored. Conor Sheary kept the puck along the boards in the Devils’ zone. He got it to Tom Wilson, who walked in and passed to Backstrom who was setup at the backdoor. He tipped it in at the right post to give the Caps a 2-0 lead.
No scoring occurred in the second period, ut the third gave another flurry of Capitals attacks.
It began 7:13 in when Sheary scored to make it 3-0. Mikhail Maltsev could not clear the Devils’ zone and turned the puck over at the blue line. Wilson grabbed the puck and passed to Sheary, who walked in and wristed a shot by Wedgwood.
The final goal of the game came at the 16:28 mark of the third when Ovechkin struck again for his second, inching him closer still to Marcel Dionne on the all-time goals scored list.
TJ Oshie got the puck into Devils territory, passed off to Kuznetsov who fed Ovechkin in his office for a one-timer that beat Wedgewood to make it 4-0, our final.
The Devils were outshot 31-24. Won 53-percent of the game’s faceoffs. They had less hits than the Caps at 14-11. The Caps blocked more shots at 15-10 and the Devils had one more giveaway at 11-10.
Pavel Zacha led all Devils in ice time with 20:30 while PK Subban led the defensemen with 20:08. Ty Smith led in power play time with 3:57.
Michael McLeod once again led in faceoff percentage with 67-percent.
Subban led in shots on goal with four, hits were led by McLeod with three, blocks were led by Janne Kuokkanen with two and takeaways were led by Boqvist with two.
Next up, the Devils have a rare Saturday off, but will be back in action on Sunday at the Bruins. That game is a 5:30 PM and will be on NBCSN.
Until then, stay safe everyone!