WASHINGTON - Alex Ovechkin scored a stunning go-ahead goal early in the third period and set up another and the Washington Capitals opened their season with a 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
With the score tied 2-all, Ovechkin got possession in his own zone, streaked down the ice and eluded defender John Moore by pulling the puck behind his right leg to his backhand side.
Then he dragged it back across his body in time to fire a wrist shot above goaltender Keith Kinkaid's left shoulder.
Ovechkin later fed Marcus Johansson on a power play to make it 4-2, and Matt Niskanen scored an empty-net goal at 17:07 in the third.
Adam Henrique scored twice and Eric Gelinas had a goal for New Jersey, which lost for the second time in as many days.
Jason Chimera's short-handed goal opened the scoring for Washington, and defenceman Bruce Orpik scored his first goal since joining the Capitals before the 2014-15 season (79 games).
Washington grabbed a 2-0 lead after the first-period midway point on Chimera's goal, a pass that Justin Williams deflected off the stick of the defending Jordin Tootoo, and to Orpik for a one-time wrist shot.
New Jersey responded within 22 seconds of Orpik's goal when a wide-open Henrique took Dmitry Orlov's diagonal pass and fired past Braden Holtby to cut the deficit in half. Fewer than three minutes later, Gelinas' slap shot tied on the Devils' second power play.
Washington outshot the Devils 11-5 in the second period but failed to capitalize on a two-man advantage that lasted 1:38. T.J. Oshie had the best chance of the stretch when the Devils were caught on a line change, but Kinkaid stretched out his right pad to deny the forward.
Moments later at even strength, Holtby denied Henrique on with a similar stop.
NOTES: According to the Capitals, Chimera's opening goal marked the first time Washington's first goal of the season came short-handed. . 27-year-old centre Brian O'Neill got a rude awakening in his NHL debut, falling to the ice after a first-period shoulder-to-shoulder collision with Oshie. . The Capitals were the last team in the Metropolitan Division to play their season opener. . With Saturday's game, the Devils closed their first of 12 sets of back-to-back games. Their next comes on Nov. 27-28.