A late power play goal by Damon Severson seals the win for the Devils over the Washington Capitals.
NEWARK, NJ - In a battle of special teams, a late third-period power play goal by Damon Severson sealed a 3-2 win for the Devils over the Washington Capitals.
"It was great, almost pulled my hamstring in the celebration, it tensed up a little bit there" Severson joked. "But we got the win, we one-upped them so it was great."
Both teams had multiple penalties throughout the game, but strong performances by the Devils penalty kill and Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood limited the Capitals to one power play goal through six man-advantage opportunities.
Jesper Bratt and Wayne Simmonds also scored for the Devils. Bratt's goal came in the first period, and Simmonds scored a power play goal in the second. The Devils saw success on the power play - scoring two goals on three power play chances.
"We attacked the net, I don't think we did too much extra," said Simmonds on the team's power play success. "We took what was given to us and we kept attacking the net and I think that's what was key."
"I think it was a good game, the team played really well, did a great job, and yeah we'll take that one," said Blackwood following the game.
"It was a huge effort," said Devils Interim Head Coach Alain Nasreddine. "We've talked about resiliency for a while now, and another great example of that tonight."
New Jersey heads out on a five-game road trip which starts in Detroit on Tuesday. The game can be seen on MSG+ and heard on the Devils Hockey Network, including right here at NewJerseyDevils.com. Puck drop is 8:08 p.m. ET.
The Devils had some penalty trouble to start the game, getting two penalties in the first five minutes. First, Connor Carrick was called for roughing and then less than a minute after the Devils killed off that penalty, Travis Zajac was called for high sticking. Mackenzie Blackwood was strong against the Capitals and his big saves kept Washington off the board in their man-advantage opportunities.
Jesper Bratt would open the scoring with seven minutes left in the first period. Damon Severson intercepted a pass in the Capitals attacking zone, and found Jesper Bratt up ice. Bratt went in and fired one low to give the Devils a 1-0 lead.
The Devils would get their first power play of the game just under the ten minute mark in the second period. New Jersey had consistent offensive possession throughout the man-advantage and were moving well against the Capitals penalty kill.
Then, with two seconds left in the power play, Wayne Simmonds scored to give the Devils a two goal lead. Gusev passed to Bratt who threw the puck on net. The puck hit the post and Wayne Simmonds tapped in the loose puck behind Samsonov.
The Capitals would score on their fourth power play of the night minutes later. John Carlson fired a shot from the point, Tom Wilson, who was screening Mackenzie Blackwood, deflected it down to make it 2-1 Devils.
The Devils held a 2-1 lead until the 15:10 mark of the third period when Alex Ovechkin scored his 700th career NHL goal. The Capitals peppered Blackwood with shots and when Washington couldn't break through, they reset. Kuznetsov found Ovechkin at the face-off dot, who fired it on net and tied the game.
"We didn't want him to score 700 against us, you know he's going to get it eventually," said Severson on Ovechkin's goal. "We just kind of realized 'hey, goals go in on us and that's what's going to happen,' we just gotta be able to bounce back and rebound."
New Jersey's penalty trouble continued later in the third period. First, a fight sent a player from each team to the box, bringing two minutes of 4-on-4 hockey. A minute later, Dakota Mermis was called for hooking, giving the Capitals a 4-on-3 advantage for 56 seconds.
The Devils killed off the initial penalty, but then picked up another penalty when Travis Zajac is called for high sticking, giving the Capitals a 5-on-3 advantage for 14 seconds. New Jersey was able to kill off both penalties, surviving five minutes of man-down play.
Seconds after the game returned to even strength, the Devils would get their chance on the power play. Then halfway thorugh the man-advantage, Washington is called for another penalty, giving the Devils a 5-on-3 advantage for 49 seconds.
Although the Devils were unable to score with a two-man advantage, Damon Severson would score a power play goal to give the home team a 3-2 lead. Severson passed to Nikita Gusev, who immediately passed back to Severson. Severson fired one on net to give the Devils a 3-2 lead. Severson's power play goal was the second power play goal of the night for New Jersey.
Washington pulled their goaltender in the final two minutes of the game but were unable to score and tie the game. With the win, the Devils won their fourth straight game at home.
Devils Interim Head Coach Alain Nasreddine was impressed with how his team responded to the momentum shift with Ovechkin's goal to tie the game in the third period.
"All the momentum going to Washington after that goal," said Nasreddine. "The veterans, like Palmieri and Simmonds, stood up and rallied the troops. I couldn't be prouder of the guys finding a way to win this game."
Mackenzie Blackwood finished the night with 27 saves on 29 shots and extended his win streak to six straight games.
"He's been dynamite for us. He's a rock back there and he gives us confidence when he plays," said Severson on Blackwood. "He's a big guy, he's very reliable and like I said he puts the confidence in us."
"He's been playing great. He's in the zone, he's seeing the pucks, he's moving so well in the net. He's a hard guy to beat right now," said Kyle Palmieri. "When a goalie plays like that it gives you a lot of confidence as a team."
The Devils hit the road next for a five-game road trip. Up first, Detroit on Tuesday for the third and final meeting between the two clubs.