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Capitals vs Devils Recap: Ilya Samsonov Backstops Capitals’ 5-4 Win

The Caps finish off the Devils for the 8th time this season.

NHL: Washington Capitals at New Jersey Devils Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

The Devils will be the first team the Capitals will finish their series with this season. So far, the Capitals hold the strong lead of seven wins in the eight games. Can they make it the season sweep and make it eight straight?

Minus: The Capital’s first period was really bad. It looked like they just woke up then jumped onto the ice. They maybe lucked out they were playing the Devils, a team not having a ton of offensive weapons. If they played liked that against a top team they would have been buried.

Plus: Ilya Sasmonov was really good. Ignore the score because it could have been way worse if it wasn’t for him. There’s nothing he could really do on any of those goals that got by him. This is a good sign because they will need a strong goalie down the final stretch and into the playoffs.

  1. The Devils struck quickly when Travis Zajac in the slot ripped a one timer that went top corner. Looked like it was a slow line change that resulted in no one picking Zajac up.
  2. The Capitals really don’t like afternoon games and it showed to start today as well. The Capitals looked very slow and uninterested. Even the more reliable, speedy players looked careless and out of sorts.
  3. The Capitals were able to hold on and not break before TJ Oshie made a nasty push to the net and backhanded the puck top cheese to tie the game up.
  4. The boys in red started to play slightly better after the Oshie goal but still were giving away too many chances. With 30 seconds left the Devils had a slew of chances to score but couldn’t and drew a penalty. The Devils made a strong push on their powerplay to start the second period but Ilya Samsonov came up big on all of then.
  5. Off a faceoff win in the Devils zone, Dmitry Orlov made a nice pass to Conor Sheary who one timed the puck, which hit a Devil’s defender and knuckled in for the Capitals second goal. It was a lucky goal for sure but it was a nice play to set it up.
  6. Alexander Ovechkin drew a high stick penalty almost half way through the second. Nicklas Backstrom tricked everyone when he snapped a wrister that hit Blackwood five hole. Blackwood got a piece and the puck was going through the blue paint wide but Ovechkin was there to tap it in for the Capitals third goal.
  7. At 4v4, Yegor Sharangovich, shot up the slot and used Orlov as a screen to rip one by Samsonov. Orlov definitely should have been a bit more aggressive to get his stick on the puck and it’s certainly something Ilya will tell him. Orlov was at that perfect distance to not block the pass but close enough to block the release of the puck.
  8. Luckily, Samsonov was really on his game today. He made a highlight reel goal on Damien Severson on a cross ice pass. It would have tied the game and put all the momentum to the Devils. It’s a save that arguably won the Capitals the game.
  9. The Devils were rewarded another powerplay quickly in the third. But the great effort and sick pass by Garnett Hathaway to Carl Hagelin gave the Capitals a shorthanded goal and put them up again by two.
  10. The Capitals added to the lead with a sweet pass by Ovechkin to Kuznetsov who tapped it into the empty net. It was Ovechkin’s second primary assist and third point of the day.
  11. But Dillon had his pass stripped behind the net and the puck bobbled in front of the Capitals net where Jesper Bratt whacked home the Devil’s third goal. It was shaping up to be another Capitals third period collapses. And of course the Capitals allowed another goal with four minutes left making the game way closer than it needed to be.
  12. Luckily, the Capitals held the Devils off and won the eight and final game with the New Jersey team.

Next up, the Capitals take on the New York Islanders. The Islanders aren’t just on the heels for the Capitals for the division lead, but they also embarrassed the hell out of the Capitals last game. The boys in red need to come out on fire not just to protect the lead in the division but to get some revenge.