NHL Game Summary - New Jersey at Washington
(Friday, November 14th)
Final Score: Washington 3, New Jersey 1
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Alexander Ovechkin and Brooks Laich both had a goal and an assist, as the surging Washington Capitals defeated the slumping New Jersey Devils, 3-1, in the opener of a home-and-home series at the Verizon Center.
Tomas Fleischmann also scored, while Mike Green collected two helpers for the Capitals, who are riding a five-game winning streak. Jose Theodore, making his first start since November 1, turned in a confidence-building performance between the pipes for Washington, stopping 32-of-33 shots. The Quebec native had allowed five goals in his previous start against Buffalo.
"We're not getting ahead of ourselves," said Laich. "We are not going to get complacent. We have to realize we are where we are because we worked for it."
Patrik Elias lit the lamp and Scott Clemmensen made 24 saves for New Jersey, which has dropped four straight and eight of its last 10 games overall.
"We made some mistakes, some mental errors that cost us the game," said New Jersey forward Brian Gionta.
New Jersey had the better of the play early on and tested the Washington netminder relentlessly, but a bench minor for too many men halted the Devils momentum and gave the Capitals' struggling power play, ranked 23rd in the league, an opportunity to seize the lead.
Ovechkin accepted a pass from Green and let loose a scorching wrister from the slot that was tipped down low by Laich at the 9:52 mark of the first period.
Fleischmann put the home team up 2-0 with 1:29 remaining in the second period. Viktor Kozlov came around from behind the net and dished to Fleischmann, who ripped a rising shot from inside the left circle past Clemmensen.
A poor line change by the Capitals enabled Elias to break in alone on Theodore and fire a shot through the legs of the Washington netminder, cutting the deficit to 2-1 with 8:05 remaining in the third period.
Ovechkin's empty-net goal -- his third in as many games -- in the final minute sealed the win.
These clubs will do battle again Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark...With his assist on Fleischmann's tally, Kozlov reached the 500-point plateau...The Capitals are 7-0-1 at the Verizon Center this year, the only team in the Eastern Conference without a regulation loss at home...Washington forward Alexander Semin left the game with an undisclosed injury and is listed as day-to-day.
11/14 23:06:41 ET