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game recap

Ovechkin scores ninth of season in Capitals win

Backstrom, Oshie combine for seven points to help give Devils first loss

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading ninth goal, and T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom combined for seven points to help the Washington Capitals to a 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Friday.

The Capitals (3-1-1) ended a two-game losing streak (0-1-1), and handed the Devils (3-1-0) their first loss of the season.

Backstrom had one goal and three assists, Oshie had two goals and an assist, Evgeny Kuznetsov had two assists, and Braden Holtby made 21 saves for Washington.


WATCH: All Capitals vs. Devils highlights


"This was by far our best game of the season," Holtby said. "This is the way we want to play."

Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri scored, and Cory Schneider made 23 saves for New Jersey.

Oshie and Backstrom each scored a power-play goal in a span of 1:36 early in the third period to give the Capitals a 5-2 lead. Oshie, who has five goals this season, scored off a snap shot while losing his balance in the right circle at 5:26, and Backstrom scored when a pass from Ovechkin hit his left skate and got past Schneider at 7:02. Washington was given a 4:00 power play when Pavel Zacha was whistled for a double-minor for high-sticking Lars Eller at 4:10.

"We did a great job managing their speed and limiting their chances," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "We kept them to the perimeter and didn't let them have the interior. Our power play (3-for-4) was very good after they took the high-sticking penalty; we needed that."

Video: WSH@NJD: Backstrom, Ovechkin combine for PPG

Palmieri scored his 100th NHL goal 53 seconds into the third to pull the Devils within 3-2.

"I think we were looking for more rush plays and speed plays that just weren't really there," Schneider said. "We were not as sharp as we had been but that happens sometimes. Give them credit; they stuck to their system well and were hard to play against."

Jakub Vrana gave the Capitals a 3-1 lead with 1:00 remaining in the second when he deflected a shot by Devante Smith-Pelly from the slot.

Video: WSH@NJD: Vrana redirects Smith-Pelly's shot for goal

Hall pulled the Devils within 2-1 on his first goal of the season 16:28 into the second with the man-advantage.

Ovechkin scored on the power play off a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Schneider over the right shoulder for a 2-0 lead 8:01 into the second. Oshie gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 14:49 into the first on a pass from Backstrom.


Goal of the game

Ovechkin collected a pass from Backstrom in the left circle and swept a wrist shot over Schneider's right shoulder. Backstrom, who has eight assists this season, backhanded a pass to Ovechkin from the opposite circle.

Video: WSH@NJD: Ovechkin rips home a power-play goal


Save of the game

Dalton Prout received a pass from Hall and took a shot from the left circle that Holtby challenged and stopped with his glove 5:34 into the first period with the Capitals leading 1-0.

Video: WSH@NJD: Holtby flashes the leather to deny Prout


Highlight of the game

Palmieri scored his first goal of the season early in the third after he took a pass from Damon Severson in stride, split the Capitals defense, and beat Holtby on a backhand.

Video: WSH@NJD: Palmieri notches his 100th NHL goal


They said it

"We managed the puck a little better, dumped the puck smarter. When we do that and have a good forecheck, you create turnovers and chances. We had better structure and kept it together, played better defensively. When we play quick, it's hard for other teams to create chances." -- Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom


"I don't think the games are going to be as easy; we got some easy offense the last two games, turned over pucks and they played into our hands. [Against Washington] we did the opposite. We played into the Capitals' hands and made the game easy on them. There are things for us to fix but they're not complicated. They are just decision-making and reading off each other better. If we clean that up, we will be fine." -- Devils left wing Taylor Hall


Need to know

Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen left after the second period because of an upper-body injury. He will be re-evaluated Saturday. Forward Tom Wilson made his season debut on Washington's third line after serving a four-game suspension for boarding. He played 13:47 and had three hits. … Devils rookie defenseman Will Butcher has six assists in four games.


What's next

Capitals: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSWA, NBCSP, NHL.TV)

Devils: At the New York Rangers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Video: Backstrom, Oshie lead Caps' offense in 5-2 win

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