Whipped everywhere except on the scoreboard: Caps beat Devils 6-3

The Washington Capitals got a big win over their division rivals, the New Jersey Devils, to top .500 for the first time this season.

Jersey forward Nathan Bastian grabbed his own rebound to give the Devils an early lead, but Nic Dowd responded with a goal assisted by Beck Malenstyn.

The Devils dominated the second period everywhere but on the scoreboard. Hathaway scored unassisted, then Sheary scored shorthanded, then Ovechkin scored from the Ovi Spot, then Jensen came off the post and in.

That four-goal period was enough for Jersey keeper Mackenzie Blackwood, so we got to see our old pal Vitek Vanecek in goal for the third. Tomas Tatar netted a hard kick four minutes into the third and then Jesper Bratt exploited a line change to bring the Devils within two. Aliaksei Protas had the dagger on poor sweet VV.

Caps win!

Mount it.

  • Let’s imagine for a few balls that this game has rocked without ambiguity. I’ll do this first without short jokes.
  • Conor Sheary scored the first shorthanded goal of his career. He is now tied with Tom Wilson for the second most goals in the last three seasons (37). In the first place is Ovi, I don’t know.
  • I bit my nails about Alex Ovechkinso far. I was delighted – really delighted, bruv – to see him record a classic Ovi Shot from the Ovi Spot. Great John Carlson tee-up. #783 prevents my flight goal anxiety for one night.
  • The fourth line was the best on the team, scoring twice while playing under a lot of pressure. It was great to see Beck Malenstyn get his first assist in his 16th NHL game. I don’t know enough to say that he fits in well there, but I would like to see him more.
  • Also on the youth council: Aliaksei ProtasThe third-period goal was his first of the season. We have the impression that he is still in the big leagues this year.
  • Charlie Lindgren got his second start in goal and he was fantastic. It was a very tough game and he rose to the challenge. I wonder if we don’t see him taking on a bit more of a workload over the next few months.
  • Okay, let’s be realistic. The Capitals were completely outplayed throughout this game. I’ll leave it up to Chris to enumerate tomorrow morning. The only streaks where the Caps played well were the three or four seconds immediately preceding each of their numerous goals. The Caps got the rebounds and the Devils had a turkey in the net. I had a great time, but it’s not the kind of hockey you can build a season on.
  • I still don’t know if the Devils are the real deal, but I’m more confident after this game. They are strong in all three areas, but especially in neutral, where their young and fast team effectively blocked entrances from Washington. They need a better goalie. Maybe Demko will be for sale.

A great victory in a terrible match. Two big ranking points taken with bad news. A few heroic plays in a dismal team effort. I enjoyed this one and dread what it says about the winning team.

Main photo: @SmithersChuck

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