NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - George McPhee was busy at the NHL trading deadline earlier this week and, for one game, everything worked out great for the Washington Capitals.
Cristobal Huet stopped 18 shots in his first start and fellow newcomer Sergei Fedorov made a sensational no-look pass to help break a scoreless tie in a 4-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
"When George made the trades, he made them for real professionals and experienced guys who knew what it took to (step) in," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "These guys were just as advertised."
The two had plenty of help as the Capitals posted their first shutout since the second game of the season and pulled within three points of first-place Carolina in the Southeast Division.
Washington has two games in hand.
"I just want to be as young as these guys are and bring the same energy," said the 38-year-old Fedorov, who played on Stanley Cup winners in Detroit. "I don't want to draw any focus from what they have done before."
Mike Green, Viktor Kozlov, Alexander Semin and Donald Brashear scored for the Capitals.
The shutout was the third of the season for Huet, who was acquired from Montreal for a draft pick in a trading deadline deal on Tuesday.
"It was an ideal start, I would say," Huet said. "We can't stop here. We have a tough schedule ahead. It's a good team win."
It marked the first time the Devils were shutout since Dec. 18. The loss in regulation was the team's first in 10 games (7-1-2).
"We played a team who played with a sense of urgency and desperation," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "We were a team that played that way the first two periods. The last two, we weren't a very good hockey team."
While the Devils didn't get a lot of pucks on goal, and only two in the final 20 minutes, Huet was outstanding when needed. His best save came with 12:31 left in the second period and the game still scoreless. Jay Pandolfo sprung Zach Parisi on a breakaway and the former Canadien stopped him cold.
|Cristobal Huet, left, sparkled in his debut with the Capitals on Friday as he makes a save on a shot by the New Jersey Devils Zach Parise en route to a 4-0 shutout in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
"I put it where I wanted it, he just made a nice save," Parisi said.
Huet also stopped a blast by Jamie Langenbrunner and a rebound attempt by Patrik Elias less than a minute later.
Fedorov, who was acquired from Columbus for Theo Ruth, made a great play along the boards to set up Green's power-play goal at 11:27 of the second period.
Rookie Nicklas Backstrom kept the puck in the offensive zone and slid it along the boards to Fedorov, who made a no-look behind the back pass to Semin. The Russian forward quickly passed the puck across the ice to Green, who shot the puck into the net before goaltender Martin Brodeur get across the net.
"I had a chance before I received the pass to look back and I saw Semin was coming in," Fedorov said. "I just put the puck there."
Green leads NHL defensemen with 17 goals, including eight with the extra skate.
Washington put the game away with three goals in the third period. The biggest was Kozlov's shot from the left circle just 43 seconds into the period on a setup by NHL goal-leader Alex Ovechkin, who has now gone seven games without a goal.
Semin got his 20th goal of the season at 8:59 of the final period with Elias serving a four-minute high-sticking penalty after cutting Green.
Brashear added insult to the Devils' loss, scoring his fourth goal in 64 games with a snap shot right in front of Brodeur, who finished with 25 saves.
"The last couple of games we haven't played 60 minutes, even though we snuck some points out," Devils forward Brian Gionta said. "Tonight it caught up to us."
Notes: Ovechkin has scored in every Eastern Conference arena expect the new Prudential Center. He has played two games here. ... Devils defenseman Andy Greene was off for tripping when Green scored for Washington. ... Brodeur has started 23 straight games for New Jersey. ... The game marked the Devils debut of Bryce Salvador, who was acquired Tuesday from St. Louis. ... Matt Cooke, who was acquired from Vancouver on Tuesday, did not play because of problems getting his visa. ... Washington is 20-0-2 when leading after two periods.