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Devils complete comeback with Greene's OT goal

by Adam Vingan

WASHINGTON -- The New Jersey Devils overcame two separate two-goal deficits to defeat the Washington Capitals 5-4 in overtime Saturday at Verizon Center.

Defenseman Andy Greene deflected the rebound of Jaromir Jagr's wrist shot past Braden Holtby 43 seconds into overtime to give the victory to the Devils, who trailed 3-1 after two periods and 4-2 with less than 12 minutes remaining in regulation.

"I honestly can't remember the last overtime goal I scored," Greene said. "It feels great to do it and get a big win tonight."

Marek Zidlicky scored twice, and Jagr and Dainius Zubrus each had a goal for New Jersey. Jagr tied Mark Messier for seventh place on the NHL's all-time goal list with the 694th of his career.

"I felt like we were playing very good hockey the first two periods, and I look at the scoreboard and we were down 3-1," Jagr said. "That was kind of tough to swallow, but we got some lucky bounces in the third period and tied the game and went to overtime again. I thought we responded very well when we were down two goals, and it's a big win for us."

Jason Chimera, Mikhail Grabovski, Joel Ward and Alex Ovechkin scored for Washington.

"[The coaching staff] said we had to keep doing the same thing," Capitals defenseman Mike Green said of the locker-room conversation between the second and third periods. "We were successful in the second period and we had to keep that going in the third. … We played a good 40 minutes, but we needed 60 tonight."

Jagr opened the third-period scoring at 5:28 with his 13th of the season, a sharp-angled power-play goal to cut the Devils' deficit to 3-2, but Ovechkin responded at 8:07 with a wrist shot from the slot to secure his ninth straight season with at least 30 goals. He is the only player to score 30 in every season since 2005-06, when he entered the NHL.

Washington's second two-goal lead had evaporated 3:40 later

Zidlicky made it 4-3 when he snuck into the slot undetected for his second goal of the game before Zubrus tied it with 8:13 remaining. Travis Zajac intercepted Holtby's clearing attempt and quickly fired it on net, where Zubrus was able to deflect it past the goalie.

The Capitals and Devils combined for 17 shots by the end of the first period, but each team, playing the second half of back-to-back sets, plodded through the early portion of the game.

Washington had the only shot on goal through the first 7:24 before peppering Martin Brodeur with six unanswered attempts near the midway point.

The Devils did not register their first shot on goal until 8:34 remained in the period, but they made it count on the power play to take a 1-0 lead. New Jersey worked the umbrella, beginning with Jagr along the right half-wall. He passed to Greene at center point, and Greene fed Zidlicky at the left circle for a one-timer that beat Holtby high to the short side. It was Zidlicky's first goal since Nov. 20.

The pace picked up considerably in the second period -- a style of game that favored the Capitals -- and Chimera's seventh goal of the season at 10:07 tied the game. After having his wraparound attempt foiled by Brodeur, Chimera was able to locate the rebound and beat the goaltender before he could react.

Grabovski gave Washington its first lead of the game less than five minutes later, finishing off an impressive passing display when Eric Fehr found him on the doorstep for his 10th goal of the season. Ward pushed the lead to 3-1 within the period's final minute, collecting Green's rebound in transition.

The Devils are 3-0-1 in their past four games. The Capitals lost for the fourth time in their past 10 games.

"We got a point out of it," Chimera said. "It's not like it's the end of the world. They are a good team and they are playing desperate. … Obviously, it was disappointing, but we have to move on and look at the bright spots."

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