Zajac brings the heat to start the game with a wind up shot on the rush just 30 seconds into the period, but Samsonov makes the same and Tom Wilson takes out the net.
The Devil-killer Jakub Winchester Vrana finds himself on a breakaway off a picked off pass but he rings it off the post.
Zajac comes on, picks off a bad pass and rushes into the zone with yet another shooting opportunity but Samsonov catches the bank attempt and freezes the puck.
The Capitals come in on a rush. Ovechkin carries the puck over the blue line, drops to Kuznetzov who carries through, the returns the pass to Ovechkin who finds himself wide open in the back door with Wedgewood at the opposite post and the defense nowhere to be found. 1-0 Capitals.
Bryce Salvador blames Hughes for that goal but if you ask me, the actual defenseman should’ve had the pass and that takes a bit more of the blame in my opinion. If you’re relying on your rookie offensive-minded center to hold off Alexander Ovechkin instead of expecting a Norris trophy defenseman (as we’re so constantly reminded on every single broadcast from every commenting team) to cover the pass from an average first line center, well no wonder we can’t win games.
Somehow Miles Wood ends up with a holding penalty I was pretty sure was against the Capitals but you know, at least we’ll get a makeup call out of it right?
Fortunately we somehow manage a decent penalty kill despite the multiple weapons the Capitals can deploy, and we return to 5 on 5 without much incident.
Until the Devils bobble the puck again.
Jack Hughes can’t find the puck along the boards and loses it to Tom Wilson, who finds Conor Sheary, who finds Tom Wilson again, who finds Backstrom, lazily covered by Ty Smith in the back door. 2-0 Capitals.
Besides a Palmieri snap shot off a Jesper Bratt board battle win, there wasn’t much interesting that the Devils accomplished in the first period. Palmieri checked Chara into a linesman, that was pretty funny. Otherwise there really wasn’t much. We were credited with 2 giveaways and 2 takeaways but I’m pretty sure we gave it away more than that.
I’m gonna be honest with y’all.
The second period has been a boring conglomeration of a half-effort attack from both teams. I literally have nothing worth telling you. The Devils have been a hair better than the Capitals but nothing worth getting out of your seat for.
Boqvist got a decent scoring chance that was considered high danger technically but he hung onto the puck waaaay too long for it to ever actually convert in a goal.
Miles Wood draws an interference penalty from Dmitri Orlov and we go to the powerplay which is the first interesting thing to happen.
The Devils crash the crease right away but we’ll have to do better than that to beat Ilya Samsonov. The remaining 90 seconds of the powerplay is killed by the Capitals without incident.
Sharangovitch takes a high stick to the face almost immediately following the end of the interference penalty, so we go right back to the powerplay. Unfortunately he is unable to spontaneously spout blood so it will only be a 2 minute advantage. Considering how ineffective the Devils powerplay has been against the Capitals, that may be a good thing.
Another 2 minutes on the advantage, another 2 minutes passed where maybe one person (Boqvist, in this case) other than PK Subban takes a shot the entire time. Have we tried giving PK a wooden stick so he actually can’t take a slap shot? Or maybe just not putting him on the powerplay?
The Devils put on a bit more pressure than the Capitals as the period draws to a close, maybe a 70/30 split of work but they’re just not producing quality chances out of it so we’ll go to the second intermission still down 2-0.
Garnet Hathaway decides to start the third period rolling around the ice like a Weeble that failed inspection trying to draw a penalty from Severson shoving him out of the crease, but his acting skills would do better in a soap opera than an NHL game because no one buys it.
Jesper Boqvist on the other hand does draw a penalty, a trip from Zdeno Chara, so back to the powerplay we go. Maybe this one will be less useless?
With about 30 seconds remaining in the man advantage Jack Hughes works his way into an opportunity but the puck never reaches the net.
Back on 5 on 5, Mikhail Maltsev passes the puck directly to Conor Sheary at the point in an attempt to clear, who walks in a few feet and rips it home over Wedgewood’s shoulder. 3-0 Capitals.
Just what the doctor ordered! pic.twitter.com/qTk7PdqyYN— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 27, 2021
To top it off, Damon Severson follows it up with a penalty for hooking (I don’t really agree to be honest). Spectacular.
We do manage to kill it off again, thanks to an excellent sequence by Wedgewood mostly.
The Devils are trying to fade the remainder of the game into nothingness but Ovechkin has one last thing to say about it.
With three minutes remaining, the Capitals carry into the zone. Oshie leaves a slick backhand pass for Kuznetsov, who feeds Ovi in his usual office, who feeds the puck into his usual spot: the back of the net.
The Devils will have to lick their wounds from this series and carry this 4-0 loss, our first time being shutout this season, into the weekend.
Ovechkin got two points, Conor Sheary got two points, Evgeniy Kuznetzov got two points, Tom Wilson got two points, and the Capitals got two points. The Devils will leave with nothing.
I only have one thing to say about the overall lackluster effort by the Devils:
Someone needs to remind our defensemen that a hockey rink is not a swanky apartment, it is more like a house... in that it has a BACK DOOR. And it’s their job to protect it. And what do they do? Wander around the yard like a dog presented with a steak by the burglar. Attack the puck carrier, do not allow them to make free passes, and cover the remaining forwards hanging around your goaltender looking for scraps like feral cats. It is not that complicated, but we continue to make it seem so. Why.
OK one other thing since I have to leave y’all with a bad and a good:
Scott Wedgewood has continued to be the most pleasant surprise of the season (relative to original expectations). Despite the loss, I really can’t blame him for any of the goals he ended up allowing. Welcome back to NJ, Scotty.
What impressed you, what depressed you, and also please be gentle as to how bad this recap is. I may have actually broken my hand in the middle of it during a London broil accident, which so far is still less painful than watching the Devils continue to lose games we could easily be winning. Cheers, Devils fans!