On Friday the 13th Washington faced the undefeated New Jersey Devils and served them their first loss of the young season. Behind strong offensive nights from key personnel Washington walked out of the Devil’s den with two points.
Here's Friday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: Nicklas Backstrom had a four point night (1G 3A), his first since March 18th of last year against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Minus: Seeing Marcus Johansson in New Jersey’s colors will never be normal. It was good to see the seven season Washington forward again, though.
Eleven more notes on the game.
- Tom Wilson returned for his first contest of the season after missing the first four of the campaign after boarding Samuel Blais in St. Louis. Wilson skated 15 minutes and tallied a single shot but would serve justice to Devils forward Blake Coleman late in the game.
- Just before the first frame’s fifteen minute mark marksman T.J. Oshie took a perfect Backstrom pass and buried high heat behind Cory Schneider.
- The early scoring sequence was sparked by a deft Backstrom takeaway inside of New Jersey’s blue line. While John Moore was busy fending off Oshie, Backstrom stripped him of the puck and did what he does best.
- And just before the game was halfway through Alexander Ovechkin tallied his league leading ninth goal with the man advantage. A vintage, wicked, wrist shot from his office was the outcome of another sparkling primary assist from Backstrom.
- Matt Niskanen was on the receiving end of a stick check from Jimmy Hayes and was immediately seen seeking medical attention. A few seconds later he would head to the dressing room for the rest of the night with an upper body injury.
- Taylor Hall would bring the Devils within one with a power play goal that beat Braden Holtby, a chance that came courtesy of a strong primary assist from Kyle Palmieri.
- But less than two minutes later Jakub Vrana tipped a Devante Smith-Pelly shot that fumbled the puck through Schneider and into the cage to restore the Capitals’ two goal lead.
- Early in the third Pamlieri split Backstrom and Christian Djoos at the blue line and bested Holtby with a nice backhand shot to bring New Jersey within one once again.
- Andre Burakovsky dropped his gloves (for the first time in his NHL career) against Blake Coleman after the latter tripped Dmitry Orlov dangerously into the end wall. If their bout was a draw Coleman wouldn’t be so lucky in his next dance with Wilson.
- Oshie would strike again on Washington’s next power play thanks to, once again, a smart possession and distribution of the puck from Backstrom.
- And Backstrom finalized the game’s scoring by directing an Ovechkin slap-pass into a wide open cage behind Schneider.
The Capitals will travel to play the Flyers Saturday night and potentially without Niskanen. He will be evaluated tomorrow alongside the team in Philadelphia.