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game recap

Backstrom hat trick helps Capitals top Devils, win seventh straight

Center gets four points, Holtby makes 33 saves; New Jersey drops fourth in row

by Harvey Valentine / Correspondent

Backstrom's hat trick

NJD@WSH: Backstrom earns hat trick in Capitals' win

Nicklas Backstrom scores in the 1st and adds two more in the 3rd, earning his second regular-season hat trick in a 6-3 win against the Devils

  • 01:48 •

WASHINGTON -- Nicklas Backstrom had a hat trick and an assist to help the Washington Capitals win their seventh straight game, 6-3 against the New Jersey Devils at Capital One Arena on Friday.

It's the Capitals' longest winning streak since they won nine consecutive games from Dec. 31, 2016-Jan. 15, 2017.

Backstrom had at least three points for the second straight game and has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in his past 14. He had three assists in a 4-1 win at the New York Islanders on Monday.


[WATCH: All Devils vs. Capitals highlights]


"He's the backbone of our team," Capitals goalie Braden Holtby said. "He shows up every game to play a complete game, defensively, offensively, [penalty kill], [power play]. He's one of the best players in the game right now."

Video: Enterprise Hat Trick: Backstrom nets three vs. Devils

Tom Wilson, Andre Burakovsky and Alex Ovechkin scored, and Holtby made 33 saves for Washington (15-7-3). Ovechkin had two assists.

Travis Zajac, Nico Hischier and Marcus Johansson scored, and Keith Kincaid made 25 saves for the Devils (9-11-4), who have lost four straight (0-2-2) and are 2-10-1 on the road.

"We're challenged by it, that's for sure," Devils coach John Hynes said of playing on the road. "But I think it's a situation where you have to continue to work at it and look at solutions and look at different ways where you can do a better job and players can do a better job because it's certainly not good enough."

Video: NJD@WSH: Hischier follows up Hall's effort, scores

Wilson, who has scored in five consecutive games (six goals), received a five-minute match penalty for a check to Brett Seney's head with 2:21 remaining in the second period.

"It was more kind of [the] back of my shoulder," Seney said. "I don't know if he was intending to do it or what. I haven't had the chance to look at it yet."

Capitals coach Todd Reirden disagreed with the call.

"He is following his defenseman down the wall, the player backs into him, he tries to get out of the way of the player, makes himself as small as possible, and there's incidental contact," Reirden said.

Wilson was not made available to the media.

New Jersey didn't score on the five-minute power play. 

"Obviously, when you have a five-minute (power play) there, you know it's important to get some momentum off that," Devils defenseman Andy Greene said.

New Jersey went 0-for-5 on the power play and is 1-for-28 in its past 12 games.

Johansson pulled the Devils within 4-3 with 1:50 remaining in the third period, but Ovechkin scored into an empty net 20 seconds later to make it 5-3 and Backstrom did the same with 22 seconds remaining for the 6-3 final.

Ovechkin passed Joe Sakic and Jarome Iginla for sole possession of 15th place on the NHL goals list with 626.

Video: Clutch Performance: Ovi moves up all-time goals list

Backstrom gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 3:51 into the first period. Ovechkin carried the puck into the zone and passed in front to Backstrom, who poked the puck past Kinkaid.

Wilson's shorthanded goal made it 2-0 at eight seconds of the second period. Matt Niskanen sent the puck around the boards and Wilson got to it first to score from a tough angle.

New Jersey got within 2-1 on a shorthanded goal at 9:23 when Holtby stopped Blake Coleman's shot on a 2-on-1 and Zajac knocked in the rebound.

"I think [Holtby] really kept us in the game in the second," Backstrom said. "We had four breakaways in the second period and he stopped all of them. All credit to [Holtby] there. … They score on those and it's a different hockey game."

Burakovsky made it 3-1 at 5:45 of the third period after he split two defenders.

Backstrom's second goal, on a 5-on-3 power play, made it 4-1 at 10:57 but Hischier answered at 12:35 to make it 4-2.

Video: NJD@WSH: Backstrom nets second goal on power play


They said it

"We're not playing good enough hockey. We have the players in here. We have the talent. We need to find ways to play a more complete game, to play the whole 60 minutes and to find ways to not make these mistakes." -- Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy


"I think [our] confidence is good right now. I think everyone is pulling the same way and doing the right things. Different guys are stepping up and scoring goals and making really good plays when some other guys, key guys for us [are] hurt, or like Tom left the game." -- Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky

 Video: NJD@WSH: Burakovsky splits defense and beats Kinkaid


Need to know

New Jersey has allowed at least four goals in each of its past four games. … Devils forward Michael McLeod, the No. 12 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, played 5:36 in his NHL debut. … Washington center Evgeny Kuznetsov had an assist in 17:37 of ice time in his return after missing six games because of an upper-body injury. … Ovechkin has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in a seven-game point streak.


What's next

Devils: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN360, CITY, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV)

Capitals: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; SN, NBCSWA, PRIME, NHL.TV)

Video: Backstrom nets hat trick as Capitals extend streak

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