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Comeback Falls Short as Devils Lose to the Caps 6-3

The Devils had 69% of the xG share and still lost to the Bogeyman 6-3. The Devils have not beaten the Caps at home since before the Covid pandemic.

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

First Period

The game started with the Hischier line. Hischier centered the puck for Bratt but he wasn’t ready for it. I believe Protas blasted the puck on goal and Blackwood made the save. Off the faceoff Tatar went flying in and had the Devils first shot on goal.

Ovechkin got behind the defense and Blackwood stopped him with the glove

Bastian and McLeod responded with a chance in front of the net with Hughes taking a shift with them.

Tatar got in pretty close off the faceoff and Lindgren made the glove save

Oshie and Johansson tried to finesse their way past Bahl and Severson but were shut down

At 16:17 Sharangovich turned and fired but missed the net. The Devils have clearly been the better team at this point in the game. Palat had a pass from Bratt and he tried to feed Hischier driving to the net but the pass was high and he couldn’t knock it down

McLeod flew towards the blue line, took the puck over, and fed Marino. Marino skated down the right and passed to Bastian who hit the post with his first shot and then knocked his own rebound into the net.

Tatar flipped the puck to Wood who went flying into the caps zone and Lindgren came way out to get it first

John Carlson took a pass walking in from the right point and fired a wrister that went wide

As was explained by Bryce Salvador, the Devils had continuously been attacking the Caps 1-3-1 with speed. Michael McLeod proved his point with a shot on the rush. Unfortunately, the Devils took a penalty a few seconds later, Bahl for hooking.

Ovechkin sorta fanned on a one timer from I believe Oshie next to the net and Blackwood stopped it

Ovechkin had a 2 on 1 with a couple seconds left and opted for the pass and Siegenthaler deflected the pass

Dowd camped in front of the net. Hathway won a puck battle to Malenstyn who fed Dowd for the easy goal

The Devils had a possible 4 on 2 but Fehervary poked the puck away from Bratt, forced the Devils offside.

The Devils seemed to have lost their momentum from the beginning of the game

The top line of the Caps was on the ice and they were firing away but did not score

Protas went to the box for boarding Marino

Hischier had a chance in the slot but fanned on it

Hughes fed Bratt for a great one time chance but it went wide

2nd Period

The Devils had 12 seconds of pp time to start the second. Bratt had a scoring chance near the right side of the net but was stopped.

The Devils had a 2 on 1 with Bratt and Hischier, but Fehervary got back and stopped Hischier from getting a clean shot

Hathaway took a penalty. The Devils started with the second unit which didn’t get any chances. The 1st unit came out and Kuznetsov had a shorthanded chance in front

The power play got set up and Hamilton went for the blast from the point but it was saved.

Hamilton got it to Hughes who passed to Hischier and Lindgren saved his shot

After the power play ended, Graves took a shot from the blue line and Lindgren dropped the puck. Bastian crashed the net but Lindgren blocked his chance.

Tatar had another chance but was stopped once again

Hathaway came from the bench and stole the puck and fired a flipping puck past Blackwood to give the Caps the lead

The Devils immediately got another power play, as Malenstyn got his stick in the skates of Marino

Bratt gave the puck right to Sheary in his own zone who went in alone and fired it past Blackwood. 3-1 Caps.

The power play once was again failing the Devils. 3 chances, 0 goals, 1 goal against.

Hughes danced in but his shot was slowed and Lindgren made the save

There was some pushing and shoving in the corner after Hischier shoved Jensen into the boards, taking a penalty.

Marino made 2 big blocks and Haula almost had a chance but Lindgren came out to get the puck first.

The Caps reset and Oshie had a chance in the slot but shot it high.

Carlson set up Ovechkin for the one-timer and he scored on the short side post. 4 goals on 16 shots for Washington.

Jensen then fired a shot from a couple steps in from the blue line and it pinged off the post and in. 5 goals on 17 shots.

Tatar took a penalty for wiping Orlov out in the corner

3rd Period

Vanecek replaced Blackwood in goal for the 3rd.

The period started with Tatar still in the box for another 40 seconds. Nothing much happened in that time, nor for the next minute. As Spaulding said, the top 2 lines hadn’t done anything notable 5v5 yet.

The Devils got their second goal of the game. Hamilton took a shot from the point and Tatar banged the rebound in, finally breaking through with his first of the season.

McLeod went down as he was tripped up by Kuznetsov, for the 4th Devils power play of the game.

Hamilton’s shot went around and out. Bratt re-entered. The Devils set up. They passed around a bit until play was halted on a Hischier hand pass.

Hamilton and Hughes played catch and Hughes went for a one-timer that Lindgren saved.

The second unit came out and Wood passed it to the front of the net, but the puck bounced over Haula’s stick.

The Devils shook up the lines a bit and had Hughes, Bratt, and Sharangovich together. They cycled the puck around with Severson pinching and Bratt fanned on a one-timer in the slot.

The puck came out of the zone and the Devils reset. Bratt got a pass from Marino and went in on a breakaway and beat Lindgren for his first goal of the season, making it 5-3. In response, the Caps called a timeout.

Bratt and Sharangovich had some chances near the front of the net but were stopped.

Shots were 11-2 Devils at 6:25 of the 3rd.

Bratt went into the right corner and spun around to pass to Sharangovich. For a second it looked like he had a sure goal but Lindgren got over to keep the 2 goal lead intact.

Tatar has a chance on the next shift and Lindgren just got a piece with his glove

Hughes tried to stickhandle his way to a chance but Fehervary blocked him off. The caps got a 2 on 1 and Mantha scored. 6-3 Washington.

Final Thoughts

The first 10 minutes of the first period were the best part. The Devils were dominating the Caps and got on the board first with Bastian’s goal. Blackwood stopped Ovechkin on a breakaway and it looked like the Devils had a good chance of winning the game. Unfortunately, the Devils lost a bit of energy and the Caps gained some. The second period was the killer for the Devils. A turnover and a couple goals that maybe weren’t easy saves but still probably shouldn’t go in led to Washington taking a 5-1 lead. The Devils fought back in the third with 11 of the first 13 shots and the first 2 goals, but Lindgren shut the door after that and Mantha scored on a 2 on 1 to seal the deal 6-3.

Hughes certainly didn’t have his best game. Bratt scored his first goal, but also had a brutal turnover leading to a GA. All 4 of the Caps goals in the 2nd could’ve been stopped, even if none of them were easy saves.

Scoring goals was also an issue for the Devils. They did end up with 3, but on 4.5 expected goals. The power play also was not good, with 0 goals on 4 chances and no elite chances. I thought the puck movement was a little slower and worse than the couple power plays that have looked pretty good so far this season.

I would definitely put Holtz and maybe Zetterlund in next game. I’d like to see both but I must admit McLeod and Bastian both had a pretty good game. Haula hasn’t been bad and although Mercer hasn’t been great you don’t really want to sit him for a 4th liner. I figure Holtz comes back in and otherwise the lineup is the same.

Vancek probably gets the start tomorrow. Let’s hope he does a lot better than his first game against Detroit. The Wings are no longer in the pit of hell that the 19-20 season was for them, but you don’t want to lose 2 games to them early in the season and go down to 3-4 with the next game against Colorado. 3-5 is definitely something you can come back from but us fans are certainly tired of going down early in the season.

I also noticed that Hughes has had 2 sub-par games in a row. Hopefully he’s just off his game and will bounce back but it could be an injury.

The Game Stats: The Game Summary | The Event Summary | The Play by Play Log | The Shot Summary | The Natural Stat Trick Game Stats

If you have any thoughts on the game feel free to share them in the comments below and thank you for reading.