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NHL Game Summary - New Jersey at Washington

(Saturday, December 26th)

Final Score: Washington 4, New Jersey 1

Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom each posted a goal and two assists as the Washington Capitals downed the New Jersey Devils, 4-1, at Verizon Center in a battle of Eastern Conference front- runners.

Matt Bradley and Mike Green each had a goal while Michal Neuvrith stopped 29 shots for the Capitals, who have won three straight.

With the win, Washington has 54 points on the season and moved one point ahead of New Jersey and Pittsburgh for No. 1 overall in the Eastern Conference.

"Early in the third period we started to sit back a little," said Washington coach Bruce Boudreau. "But then we got back to our game and took it to them. Overall I'm very happy with the game we played tonight."

Rod Pelley scored the lone goal for the Devils, who came into the contest having won nine of their previous 10 games.

"I feel that our puck control wasn't as good as it should be," said New Jersey coach Jacques Lemaire. "On special teams we had a lot of power plays and I think they had more chances than we did. To me, that determined the whole game."

Martin Brodeur, coming off a 4-0 win over Pittsburgh on Monday that gave him shutout No. 104 of his career and moved him past Terry Sawchuk for the top spot in that category, was charged with all four goals on 40 shots.

This was the last meeting of the regular season between these two teams. New Jersey had won the previous three games.

The Caps took the lead just 4:09 in. Off a left circle faceoff win, Ovechkin grabbed the puck and from the top of the circle flicked a simple wrister on net that got past Brodeur.

Washington made it a 2-0 lead with 6:06 to play in the first as Bradley let fly with a wrister from the slot that hit off the stick of a Devils defender, popped into the air and flew over the outstretched glove of Brodeur.

However, New Jersey cut its deficit to one with 2:42 to play in the first when Pelley picked up a loose puck in the slot and snapped a wrister on net that got past Neuvirth.

Halfway through the second period, Washington made it a 3-1 game. Ovechkin had the puck along the left boards and sent it to the low left side where Alexander Semin sent a touch pass out front for Backstrom, who lifted a backhand into the net.

Neuvrith needed to make just five saves in the second period to help Washington take a two-goal lead into the final 20 minutes.

Washington extended its lead to 4-1 just 39 seconds into the final frame as Green's wrister from the high slot sailed past Brodeur.

Game Notes

Washington hosts Carolina on Monday...New Jersey hosts Atlanta on Monday...It was announced during the game that Semin agreed to a one-year contract extension...Neither team scored on the power play with Washington having two chances and New Jersey four.

12/27 00:14:02 ET

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