The Devils returned home from their Western trip that was actually pretty successful, all things considered. Unfortunately, that bit of success did not continue at Prudential Center last night as the Devils lost to the Washington Capitals 4-1. With that win, Washington retook first place in the Metro Division from the Islanders.
The game was a 7:30 PM ET start due to it being an NBCSN game and the crowd in attendance at The Rock was pretty good considering it was a Tuesday night game with the Devils long since eliminated from playoff contention.
The Devils lineup stayed largely the same from Colorado. Colton White slotted out on defense while Egor Yakovlev was back in the lineup after missing some games due to injury.
In goal, the Devils continued to share duties with Mackenzie Blackwood getting the nod last night. He made 18 saves on 22 Capitals shots for an .818 save percentage on the evening. Facing him was the Caps’ backup, Pheonix Copley who stopped 20 of 21 Devils shots for a .952 save percentage. Blackwood was forced to make some spectacular saves at times, including a phenomenal one about midway through the third period where he got some help from the Devils’ defense that needs to be seen to be believed. Copley, however, would go on to be named the game’s third star.
Neither team got much time on the power play or scored. For the Devils, this was a success as they kept the powerful Capitals power play to 0-for-1 with no shots. The Devils were kept 0-for-2 with two power play shots. Neither team registered a shorthanded shot.
Andre Burkovsky got the scoring kicked off for Washington just 2:52 into the game. Nic Dowd and Brett Connolly got the assists as Connolly was on his way to a two point (one goal, one assist) night and the first star of the game. That goal made it 1-0 Caps.
But the Devils would give some hope. With exactly one second remaining in the first period, at 19:59, Kenny Agostino fired a shot through a maze of players that found the back of the net. His seeing-eye shot tied things at one going into the first intermission and came unassisted.
But things fell apart a little for the Devils in the second period. Not quite the debacle third period in Calgary, but not great either. Connolly got his 20th of the year from Christian Djoos and Carl Hagelin at 5:57 into the second frame. That proved the game winner as it gave Washington the 2-1 lead.
At 12:16, Egeny Kuznetsov would score from Jakub Vrana to make it 3-1. Kuznetsov was named the game’s second star for the goal.
The Caps would notch another one as Tom Wilson scored 1:14 later at 13:28 from Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. This gave us our final of 4-1, handing the Devils their second straight loss.
The Devils were out shot in a low-shot game, 22-21 and had more giveaways to a stingy Caps team, six to Washington’s one. The Capitals also blocked more shots at eight to the Devils’ six. The Devils were pretty dominate in the faceoff circle, winning 55-percent of the game’s faceoffs, however and out hit the Caps 21-15.
Connor Carrick led all Devils skaters with 21:05 of ice time (2:31 on the power play) while Stefan Noesen led the forwards with 20:55 (nine seconds of PP time). Agostino led in shots on goal for the Devils with four while Steven Santini led in blocked shots with three. Hits were led by Kurtis Gabriel with five and takeaways by Kevin Rooney, Andy Greene and Santini with two each.
Next up, the Devils continue their recent homestand by taking on the Boston Bruins on Thursday at 7 PM. This will be yet another tough test against a playoff-bound foe. We will have coverage here for you. In the meantime please feel free to leave a comment below if you would like, as they are always appreciated.