Zach Parise made sure New Jersey's slump didn't go beyond four games.
The Devils' captain scored three times before leaving the game midway through the second period, and the Devils snapped out of their slump with a resounding 5-0 victory against the Washington Capitals before a disappointed sellout crowd at the Verizon Center.
Parise raised his total to a team-high 27 goals before being crunched by Washington's Matt Hendricks and Brooks Laich near the boards. He stayed down for a while before being helped off the ice. However, Parise was back on the bench for the third period but played only briefly on a power play with six minutes left.
"I was a little shaken up at first," said Parise, who had some swelling on his right jaw and a red mark there. "After a while it went away."
By the time Parise was injured, the outcome was long since settled.
"He could have played if the game had been closer," coach Peter DeBoer said. "He would have played. But it wasn't necessary. We got some other guys some ice."
Johan Hedberg, giving Martin Brodeur a night off after Thursday's 4-3 OT loss in Boston, stopped 23 shots for his third shutout of the season and the 20th of his career. The victory ended an 0-3-1 slide for New Jersey, which moved past Ottawa into sixth place in the East.
"It was exactly what we needed, from the way Hedberg came in and made some saves early, to scoring some goals and shutting them down," DeBoer said about rebounding from the loss to the Bruins 24 hours earlier. "It was what we needed, and in a lot of different areas."
Hedberg's best save in his first appearance since Feb. 9 came less than four minutes into the game when he swept across the crease to deny Troy Brouwer after Laich put the puck on his stick right in front of the net.
"I think Moose's stop early in the game was huge," forward Dainius Zubrus said.
Caps coach Dale Hunter agreed.
"He made the big saves early, and it changed the tide of the whole game," Hunter said. "We had our chances and didn't bury (them); they had their chances and they went in."
Washington saw its three-game winning streak end and remained in ninth place in the East, one point behind Southeast Division rival Winnipeg.
The Devils had only one shot on goal against Michal Neuvirth before Parise opened the scoring at 11:29 with a power-play goal. He was set up to the left of Neuvirth, just inches above the goal line, and one-timed a no-look, between-the-legs backhand pass from David Clarkson into the net before Neuvirth could get across.
Parise tapped home a loose puck at 17:50 after Ilya Kovalchuk's shot slipped through Neuvirth's legs. Just 29 seconds late, former Capital Dainius Zubrus left his skates and backhanded a pass from Clarkson into the net, then did a backward tumble after his momentum carried him past the net.
The Caps overcame a 2-0 deficit in the final four minutes of regulation against the New York Islanders on Tuesday and won in overtime. There was no such comeback this time.
"We came back the other night," Hunter said, "but you're not going to do that every night."
Parise completed his hat trick at 3:08, and Patrik Elias added a shorthanded goal late in the period off an assist from Zubrus.
The Caps left the ice after two periods to a chorus of boos from the sellout crowd of 18,506, many of whom left early.
"We just seemed like a deflated team, it's a complete knock on the guys in the room," center Jeff Halpern said. "All of us, myself included."
Material from team media was used in this report
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