Whipped everywhere but the scoreboard: Caps beat Devils 6-3

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The Washington Capitals got a big win over division rivals, the New Jersey Devils, to go above .500 for the first time this season.

Jersey forward Nathan Bastian nabbed his own rebound to put the Devils in an early lead, but Nic Dowd responded with a goal assisted by Beck Malenstyn.

The Devils dominated the second period everywhere but the scoreboard. Hathaway scored unassisted, then Sheary scored shorthanded, then Ovechkin scored from the Ovi Spot, then Jensen went off the post and in.

That four-goal period was enough for Jersey goalie Mackenzie Blackwood, so we got to see our old pal Vitek Vanecek in net for the third. Tomas Tatar got a gritty one four minutes into the third, then Jesper Bratt exploited a line change to bring the Devils within two. Aliaksei Protas got the dagger on poor sweet VV.

Cap win!

Turn it up.

  • Let’s pretend for a few bullets that this game unambiguously rocked. I’m gonna do this first one without any short jokes.
  • Conor Sheary scored the first shorthanded goal of his career. He’s now tied with Tom Wilson for second most goals over the past three seasons (37). In first place is Ovi, don’t cha know.
  • I’ve been gnawing at my fingernails about Alex Ovechkin‘s production so far. I was chuffed – proper chuffed, bruv – to see him record a classic Ovi Shot from the Ovi Spot. Great tee-up by John Carlson. no. 783 forestalls my vanishing-goal anxiety for one night.
  • The fourth line was the team’s best, contributing two goals while playing under a lot of pressure. It was great to see Beck Malenstyn get his first assist in his 16th NHL game. I don’t know enough to say he fit in great out there, but I’d like to see more of him.
  • Also on the youth tip: Aliaksei Protas‘s third-period goal was his first of the season. Kinda feels like he’s sticking in the bigs this year.
  • Charlie Lindgren got his second start in clear and he was fantastic. That was a very difficult game, and he rose to the challenge. I wonder if we don’t see him taking on a bit more of the workload over the next few months.
  • Okay, let’s get real. The Capitals got thoroughly outplayed throughout this game. I’ll leave it to Chris to enumerate tomorrow morning. The only stretches in which the Caps played well were the three or four seconds immediately preceding each of their many goals. The Caps got the bounces, and the Devils had a turkey in net. I had a real good time, but that’s not the kind of hockey you can build a season off of.
  • I am still not sure if the Devils are the real deal, but I’m more confident of it after this game. They’re strong in all three zones, but especially in neutral, where their fast, young squad effectively shut down Washington’s entries. They need a better goalie. Maybe Demko will be for sale.

A great win in a terrible game. Two big standings points taken with bad tidings. Some heroic plays within a dismal team effort. I enjoyed this one and dread what it says about the winning team.

Headline photo: @SmitersChuck

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