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Capitals @ Devils Recap: Capitals Rout Devils in 6-3 Victory

A four-goal second period, an Ovechkin tally, and a stellar goaltending performance lift the Capitals past the Devils.

Washington Capitals v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils face off tonight in what is Washington’s first Metro Division matchup of the season. The Devils are riding a three-game winning streak into tonight’s game, but the Capitals are riding a great record in the Garden State; since 2014, the Capitals are 14-2-1 at Prudential Center.

Here are Washington’s lines for tonight’s tilt:

This is Charlie Lindgren’s second start of the season; his first came in Toronto for Washington’s second game of the season. Opposite Lindgren in the Devils’ net is Mackenzie Blackwood, who was recently named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week. Fun fact: Alex Ovechkin has five goals in ten games against Blackwood. Can he make it 11? Let’s find out.

Here’s Monday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Charlie Lindgren was once again excellent in net for the Capitals. This third period save was his best of the night:

Minus: After an incredible second period, the Capitals pulled back in the third and only recorded four shots on goal.

And now, some pregame chaos…

Thirteen more notes on the game:

1. The Devils got on the board first with a goal from Nathan Bastian goal 4:49 into first. After a rush orchestrated by Michael McLeod, John Marino, and poor Washington defense, Bastian’s initial shot hit the post. Unfortunately for the Caps, it bounced back and landed right on his stick and Charlie Lindgren didn’t realize where it was, so Bastian flipped his own rebound into a wide open net. The Capitals have now surrendered the first goal in five of their last seven games.

2. The Capitals got the game’s first power play chance with 12:09 to go in the first period when Kevin Bahl was called for hooking against T.J. Oshie. The Devils have been solid on the PK so far this season, but the Caps’ power play has been strong as well (with the exception of an 0-3 performance against the Kings on Saturday night). The Capitals put decent pressure on New Jersey’s penalty kill, but unfortunately they could not convert. Still 1-0 Devils with just over ten minutes to go.

3. Nic Dowd’s third goal of the season tied things up for the Caps at 10:46 of the first. Hard work down low paid off for Beck Malenstyn, who is making his season debut tonight. He fought hard to get the puck behind the net and sent a beautiful pass to Dowd, who was waiting next to the net to tap the puck in. Malenstyn is already making an impact in his first NHL game of the season with the excellent retrieval and feed, and he was rewarded with his first NHL assist. Garnet Hathaway was credited with the secondary assist on the tally, which is his first point of the season.

Three goals in seven games this season ties Dowd with Conor Sheary and Anthony Mantha for the most on the team.

4. Aliaksei Protas was called for boarding John Marino with 1:48 left in the first, giving the Devils their first power play of the night. Lindgren was tested a bit on this New Jersey man-advantage with some sustained pressure from the power play unit, but he and the Washington PK came out on top even after the second period started with the final 12 seconds of power play time.

5. The Devils got their second power play when Garnet Hathaway took a trip to the box for interference at 3:23 of the second. Evgeny Kuznetsov had an excellent shorthanded chance about halfway through Hathaway’s penalty that he could not convert on, and this ended up the best opportunity for either team in those two minutes. Lindgren continued to look strong in net when called upon, and the game stayed tied at 1 goal apiece.

6. At 9:16 of the second, the fourth line was back at it again and gave the Caps their first lead of the night. Garnet Hathaway batted the puck out of the air with his hand and was able to get a shot off between Brendan Smith’s legs. The puck bounced off Blackwood’s left arm and into the back of the net, giving Hathaway his first goal of the season and second point of the night.

Additionally, with a helper on the goal, Nick Jensen is now tied with Dmitry Orlov for the team lead in assists this season with four.

7. 27 seconds after Hathaway’s goal, Malenstyn was called for tripping John Marino. It only took 20 seconds for the puck to find the back of the net, but surprise, it was a Short King Shorty! That’s right, Conor Sheary has scored Washington’s first shorthanded goal of the season. Sheary read the play perfectly to intercept the pass from Jesper Bratt, and he fired a shot from the top of the slot for his fourth goal of the season.

According to Joe Beninati, this is the first shorthanded goal of Sheary’s career.

8. Nico Hischier was called for boarding Nick Jensen with 4:19 to go in the middle frame. The Capitals’ first power play was not successful tonight but that was not the case the second time around, courtesy of some guy named Alex Ovechkin. He absolutely ripped a slapshot home from his office, and Blackwood had no chance on it. 4-1 Caps with 2:46 to go in the second.

9. Three Capitals goals in the second period was apparently not enough for Nick Jensen, so he put the Caps up 5-1 just 33 seconds after Ovechkin’s tally. Jensen had plenty of time and space below the blueline to line up his shot and he fired the puck trough traffic. Anthony Mantha was in the perfect place to screen Blackwood, and the puck hit the short-side post and bounced into the net.

10. After allowing five goals on 18 shots, Mackenzie Blackwood did not come back out on the ice for the third period. You know what that means: it’s Vitek Vanecek time.

11. Just over four minutes into the third, Tomas Tatar got one back for the Devils. The play started with a point shot from Dougie Hamilton, and Tatar was down in front to make a diving play at the rebound. The puck crossed the goal line just before the net came loose, making it 5-2.

12. Jesper Bratt brought the Devils within two five minutes after Tatar’s tally. He caught the Capitals in a line change and got behind the defense to charge in on Charlie Lindgren, who was a bit frozen on the play. Trevor van Riemsdyk made a valiant effort on the play, but he could not save it. 5-3 Caps with 10:54 to go. Coach Laviolette called his timeout immediately after this goal, which was probably the right call.

13. With 3:49 left, Big Boy Wingers™ Aliaksei Protas and Anthony Mantha got the Caps a six pack after a beautiful give-and-go sequence down the ice. Protas finished the play with a beautiful move on Vanecek for his first goal of the season.

Up next for the Caps: a trip to the Lone Star State to face the Stars on Thursday.