The Washington Capitals returned to game action for the first time in four days with a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at Capital One Arena. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice, Alex Ovechkin joined in on the party as well as pretty much the Russians dominated with Dmitry Orlov scoring as well. The Caps and Devils meet again tonight.
Nicholas Merkley struck first for the Devils with a goal 1:23 into the game. Orlov tied things up with his fourth of the season. Orlov sniped it from downtown at 3:10 in the first period assisted by Justin Schultz and Daniel Sprong.
1-1 would be the score after the opening 20 minutes. The Devils outshot the Caps 11-4.
At 6:20 in the second the Devils took the lead with a goal from Miles Wood. The Caps would respond at 7:15 from none other than Ovechkin from his office. The play was set up with a cross ice pass from Sprong with John Carlson having the secondary assist.
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For Ovechkin, it was his 15th goal of the season and his seventh goal in the last seven games. It’s always a good sign when the great eight heats up. Ovechkin is now 11 goals shy of passing Marcel Dionne (731 goals) for fifth place on the NHL’s all time scoring list.
At 11:47 the Caps took the lead with the first of two goals for Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov got the puck on a sharp angle shot, when he’s on he’s on. Ovechkin and Brenden Dillon had the helpers.
3-2 was the score after two periods. The Caps outshot the Devils in the middle stanza 9-6.
The Devils tied the game at 11:04 with a goal from Jesper Bratt on the power play. With overtime looming, the Caps answered quickly to avoid that dreaded extra period. It came from none other than Kuzy.
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Schultz shot the puck toward the net and Kuznetsov was there to deflect it in for his fifth of the season at 12:06. That would be the difference as the Caps would hang on to defeat the Devils. For Kuznetsov, it was one of his best games of the season at a time when they need their center to step up his game.
The Caps outshot New Jersey 9-7 and were outshot overall 24-22. Vitek Vanecek got the start and made 21 saves for an .875 save percentage.
The Caps and Devils will meet again in a rematch tonight from Capital One Arena. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. and you can catch the game on NBC Sports Washington.