Evgeny Kuznetsov scored two goals, including the game-winner in the third period, as the Washington Capitals defeated the visiting New Jersey Devils 4-3 on Thursday night.
Washington improved to 5-0-0 against New Jersey this season. Kuznetsov, one of the Caps’ top offensive threats, had not scored a goal at home before these two.
The Devils took 1-0 lead early when Washington goalie Vitek Vanecek fumbled the puck in front of his neck, and Nicholas Merkley quickly jumped on it and scored just 1:23 into the game.
But Washington answered when Dmitry Orlov ripped a slap shot through a bunch of traffic that beat goalie Mackenzie Blackwood less than two minutes later to tie the game.
The Capitals looked rusty in the first period after a four-day break, and the Devils outshot them 11-4 in the opening frame, but Washington escaped with a 1-1 tie.
New Jersey then took a 2-1 lead when Miles Wood snuck a shot past Vanecek from a sharp angle at 6:20 into the second period. But the advantage didn’t last long.
Just 55 seconds later, Alex Ovechkin tied the game with a blast from the left circle after a quick cross-ice pass from Daniel Sprong. It was his team-leading 15th goal of the season and the 721st of his career, leaving him 10 behind Marcel Dionne for fifth place in NHL history.
Washington took its first lead when Kuznetsov scored with 8:13 remaining in the period. After an Ovechkin slap shot that Blackwood stopped, the puck bounced around before Kuznetsov scored from a sharp angle to the goalie’s right.
The Devils tied the game 3-3 on Jesper Bratt’s power-play goal with 8:56 remaining, but again, the Caps took the lead back quickly.
Only 62 seconds later, Kuznetsov notched his second goal of the night, firing a shot from the right side that appeared to deflect off of New Jersey’s Damon Severson for a 4-3 lead.
The Capitals held on for their eighth win in the past nine games.
–Field Level Media