The Devils suffered their first setback of the season to Metro Division foe Washington, 4-1, Thursday night at Prudential Center.
The Capitals scored the first four goals of the game from Anthony Mantha, Dmitry Orlov, Daniel Sprong and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
"We weren't very good at the start. You can't play that way and expect to win a game against a veteran team like that, solid structurally," defenseman Damon Severson said. "Right from the start of puck drop it didn't seem like we were ready to roll.
"We didn't have our jam."
The Devils countered with a power-play goal late in the third period from Janne Kuokkanen.
"Disappointed with our focus," head coach Lindy Ruff said. "Against a team like Washington, it's going to hurt you."
Video: Devils Handed First Loss | POST GAME REPORT