So the six-game road trip is over and it’s back to the Prudential Center for work. A place that has not been kind to the Devils against the Washington Capitals, a team who have not been kind to the Devils.
But the Devils played the Caps tough tonight, only falling in OT 2-1.
It was a very rare two-days off for the Devils this week, which gave the Devils a chance to practice on Friday. Newly signed Tyce Thompson practiced with the team.
As for the situation on Nikita Gusev, he cleared waivers yesterday and was assigned to the Devils’ taxi squad. Will Butcher, Nick Merkley and Aaron Dell were the healthy scratches.
The Devils started Mackenzie Blackwood in net tonight, and he was very good. He stopped 38 of 40 Washington shots for a .950 save percentage. He stopped all seven Caps power play shots and 31 of 33 at even strength,
Going for Washington was Vitek Vanecek. Vanecek made 22 saves on 23 Devils shots for a .957 save percentage. The Devils did not register a power play shot and he stopped 22-of-23 at event strength.ost
Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power play.
The Devils were looking for their first win of the season versus Washington and the Caps were angry after an 8-4 drubbing on the Island last night. The Devils were In their green Reverse Retro uniforms.
After a scoreless first, John Carlson got the Caps on the board 8:22 into the second. The Devils won a draw in their own zone, but turned the puck over. Lars Eller gpt the puck back tp Carlson at the point. He shot and beat Blackwood cleanly to give Washington the 1-0 lead.
The Devils tied things 12:53 into the second when Ryan Murray got the puck up ice fast to Jesper Boqvist, who shot on Vanecek. The rebound came to a trailing Michael McLeod who potted it to end a 100-plus minute shutout streak for the Caps over the Devils.
The third period was filled with chances for the Devils. Late in the period, Jack Hughes the post on a nice chance.
Once regulation expired, we were off to a five-minute overtime.
It was nonstop action. Conor Sheary was stopped early on a breakaway by Blackwood, Andreas Johnsson was stopped point blank by Vanecek, Hughes was stopped at point blank late in the session.
Then, with 20 seconds between OT and a shootout, it happened. Off the rush, up the left wing came Dmitry Orlov. Orlov sniped a shot over Blackwood’s shoulder. The puck went in and out of the goal really fast, but it was called a goal on ice and the Caps earned the 2-1 victory.
The Caps outshot the Devils 40-23, the Devils won 43-percent of the game’s faceoffs, each team had 11 hits, Washington had 14 blocked shots to the Devils’ 12. The Devils also had 14 turnovers to the Capitals’ nine.
led in faceoff winning percentage with 64-percent. Damon Severson led in ice time
with 22:07, Hughes led the forwards with 20:53 of time on ice.
Shots on goal were led by Johnsson with five, hits by Dimitry Kulikov with four, blocks by Murray with four and takeaways by Mikhail Maltsev with two.
Next up it’s an Easter Sunday clash between these same Caps and Devils. That game is at 3 PM on Sunday and it will be weird to have regular season hockey on Easter.
Until then, stay safe everyone!