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Caps vs. Devils: Caps Have a Devil of a Time in 4-0 Win

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Led by another multi-goal game by Alex Ovechkin and strong play by Ilya Samsonov, the Caps cruise by the Devils.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Washington Capitals Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Caps had so much fun against the Devils yesterday, they just had to do it again. Tonight, like last night, the Caps were without the services of Lars Eller. However, after benching Jakub Vrana last night, he was demoted to the 3rd line, and the Caps lines looked like this:

Could the Caps continue their hot streak against the Devils tonight? Let’s find out.

Here’s Friday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Ilya Samsonov had a very impressive game in getting the shutout, especially early. The young netminder made a number of strong saves in the first period to keep the Devils off the board, allowing the Caps to find their footing. Though it was an open question earlier in the year, Samsonov might be laying claim to the starting goaltender role in D.C.

Minus: The Caps were not particularly disciplined, giving up a few open looks to the speedy Devils that required some strong saves by Samsonov.

And now, this..

Here’s some more notes on the game:

  • After some great chances either way, the Caps struck first on another gorgeous play by Evgeny Kuznetsov, who dangled around P.K. Subban and fed a crisp cross-ice pass to Alex Ovechkin, who fired it home. Ovechkin’s heater continued, as he tallied his 9th goal in his last 10 games, placing him yet another goal closer to Gretzky.
  • Just a few minutes later, the Caps had yet another delightful goal to make it 2-0. After Conor Sheary managed to coral the puck from skate to stick, passing it to Tom Wilson, who feathered it across to Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom made no mistake, doubling the Caps lead.
  • After the first couple of minutes, the Caps were flying in the 1st period. They had a number of good chances, and it took a post and a few Scott Wedgewood saves to keep the game at 2-0.
  • The second period was scoreless, keeping the Caps in a 2-0 lead going into the 3rd. In particular, Ilya Samsonov had a strong first two periods, making a number of key saves to keep the Devils off the board.
  • Jakub Vrana, recently demoted to the 3rd line, had a number of great chances in this game, hitting the post on a clean breakaway and missing a wide-open net in the 2nd period. However, one would imagine a hot-streak for the Czech winger could be imminent if he keeps generating quality chances.
  • Conor Sheary had another nice play to open the scoring in the third, as he sniped a goal past a well-out-of-place Wedgewood to give the Caps a 3-0 lead.
  • In the third, the Caps did a decent job of limiting the Devils chances. This was not reminiscent of the 3-goal collapse against the Devils of a couple of weeks ago, as the Caps clamped down in the neutral zone and effectively limited the Devils speed.
  • Yet another strong game by the Zdeno Chara and Nick Jensen pair. The two were well-above water in terms of shots and expected goal chances and were on the ice for two goals for and none against.
  • The Caps concluded the scoring by yet another nice pass by the red-hot Evgeny Kuznetsov, who made a no-look pass to a wide-open Alex Ovechkin to make the game 4-0.