Talking Red

Game 18: Caps Rout Devils In Third

Posted in on by Dan Pennucci

This game happened. Which was unfortunate for the Devils.

Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals used Saturday’s matinee contest in DC to shake off whatever doldrums had been plaguing them to start the season as they rode a four-goal third period to snag a 5-1 win over New Jersey. Ovechkin notched a hat trick in the contest, firing home a one-timer on the power play to ice the victory and help erase last Thursday’s loss to the Devils.

New Jersey trailed 2-1 midway through the third period when they had a golden opportunity to knot up the contest on the power play. Washington won possession of the puck in its own zone and threw a harmless clearing attempt the length of the ice where Johan Hedberg stopped the puck, leaving it for Andy Greene. Greene seemed unaware the puck was being left for him and the Caps’ Eric Fehr, bombing down the ice, collected the puck and danced around Hedberg and the goal for an easy wrap around shorthanded tally. This goal essentially ended New Jersey’s comeback attempt, as they would go on to allow two more goals.

Washington’s special teams accounted for its final three goals on the afternoon with Troy Brouwer tallying his second in as many games for the Capitals as well. New Jersey’s typically staunch penalty kill found itself unable to stop Washington despite the Devils committing just three penalties. Washington held just a four-shot advantage at the game’s end, 26-22, but it was Ovechkin who started the Caps’ third period surge.

Ovechkin took advantage of Anton Volchenkov’s lack of foot speed early in the third period, firing a laser of a wrist shot past Hedberg’s stick side. The goal was almost a carbon copy of Ilya Kovalchuk’s equalizer late in the second period, where he put a wrist shot past Braden Holtby.

New Jersey’s lone goal on the afternoon showed Andrei Loktionov drive the net and create space for Kovalchuk to fire the puck after a breakout pass from Alexei Ponikarovsky.

New Jersey looked disjointed for most of the afternoon and Washington didn’t look much better before breaking out in the third period. Both teams seemed to know each other well and played a grinding game that limited the other one’s chances. Former Devils assistant and new Capitals’ coach Adam Oates was able to limit what New Jersey wanted to do offensively and received solid enough defending and goaltending.

The Devils’ Steve Bernier was denied on a penalty shot by Holtby at 12:31 of the second period. Bernier was slashed on the hands by Tom Poti while into the offensive zone alone and attempted to beat Holtby between the legs on the penalty shot, but was unsuccessful.

New Jersey faces Winnipeg at home tomorrow for a 5 P.M. start. The Jets fell to Philadelphia on Saturday, dropping a 5-3 decision.

Notes
-Henrik Tallinder was a healthy scratch following a rough performance on Thursday against Washington.

-Martin Brodeur will start Sunday at home against Winnipeg. The Devils have used both goaltenders during every stretch of back-to-back games this season, a pattern that is almost certain to continue.

-Ilya Kovalchuk notched a season-low 20:50 of ice time and led the Devils with five shots on goal.

-Loktionov has a point in each of the last two games.

-Ryan Carter missed his second-concecutive game with a head injury suffered Monday against Ottawa.

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