In order to win a hockey game, you have to play a solid three periods. Yet again, the New Jersey Devils did the total opposite. The Devils honored Travis Zajac before today’s game, but the happiness was spoiled quickly. New Jersey let up three goals in the first 8 minutes of the game but battled back to make it 3-2 in the second. A heartbreaking breakaway goal from Jakub Vrana made it 4-2 Capitals in the third, sealing the Devils fate. There were some strong suits and some weak areas in today’s game.
Horrendous First Period
The New Jersey Devils came out slow to start the game, and it came back to bite them. Only 3:36 into the game, Garnet Hathaway scored for Washington. Jack Hughes was caught sleeping and Hathaway came into score. The Capitals took a 1-0 lead. Only a short time later, Washington scored yet again. A shot from Daniel Sprong hit off P.K. Subban who was standing in front of the net, and it deflected in. The Capitals now took a 2-0 lead only about five minutes in.
The struggles for the Devils got even worse, Washington was pouring on the pressure. New Jersey was able to get some shots on net, but it was not enough to get one by Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek. Washington scored another goal at 6:20 left, this time from Lars Eller. The Devils were down now 3-0. New Jersey looked disheartened and were getting outplayed severely. The Devils went to the power-play with about a minute left. Nico Hischier scored a few seconds in, making it 3-1 Capitals.
Strong Second Period
New Jersey came out hard in the second. Sami Vatanen generated a penalty only 1:35 into the period. The Devils were unsuccessful on the power play this time around. They generated some shots on goal and were able to eventually get one by Vanececk 6:09 into the period. The white-hot Pavel Zacha scored yet again, extending his point streak to nine games. Nico Hischier and Ty Smith were credited with the assists. This cut the Capitals lead to 3-2. The Devils played a strong period as they got tons of offensive chances but Vanecek stood tall. Washington did not get anything by Blackwood, so the game remained 3-2 with one period to go. The Devils had the momentum going into the third.
Pressure In The Third Was Not Enough
The Devils came out flying yet again in the third. A bunch of shots were thrown on net in the opening minute, but nothing got by. Nikita Gusev had a phenomenal chance on a one-timer pass, but the shot was blocked by Vanecek. For the first eight minutes of the period, the Devils got a lot going in front of the net but the shots were not able to get by. Washington had a breakaway from Jakub Vrana who slipped one by Blackwood.
This was a demoralizing goal for the Devils, as they now fell behind 4-2. The Devils had chances to tie it but nothing got by. New Jersey did not have any mojo left or was able to generate any pressure for the rest of the period. A Nic Dowd empty netter with 54 seconds remaining wrapped up the game. The Capitals defeated the Devils by a score of 5-2. New Jersey fell to 7-7-2 on the loss.