Capitals explode for 6-3 win over Devils in first Metro game of season
Caps explode for 6-3 win over Devils in first Metro game originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Capitals played their first of 26 games against the Metropolitan Division on Monday night and didn’t disappoint, jumping all over the New Jersey Devils in a 6-3 win at the Prudential Center.
Five different Capitals found the back of the net against Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, who was pulled after two periods in favor of former Washington goalie Vitek Vanecek. The Devils’ offseason signing allowed one goal on four shots against in the final period.
Fueled by a four-goal second period, the Capitals scored four times on the five-on-five, once on the power play and once shorthanded. It pulled them up to 4-3 on the young season, marking the first time the team has climbed above .500 this season.
Here are three takeaways from the Capitals’ road victory over the Devils.
Caps have strong showing on special teams
Washington gave the Devils plenty of chances to keep up with them Monday night, picking up four penalties to make for a busy night on the penalty kill. A group that had been inconsistent to date, the Capitals’ penalty kill put on one of its best showings of the year thus far.
They entered play Monday with a 66.7 penalty-kill percentage, which ranked 30th in the NHL ahead of only the struggling Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks. Washington then went and shut out the Devils on the penalty kill, even scoring their first shorthanded goal of the year on a takeaway by Conor Sheary.
Overall, New Jersey managed to get just eight shots off in eight minutes of power play ice time while generating one high-danger scoring chance. Defensemen Dmitry Orlov (5:36) and John Carlson (5:10) led the team in penalty kill ice time.
The power play was held scoreless Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings, but Alex Ovechkin scored on a one-timer from his office in the left circle to give Washington at least one power-play goal in four of its last five games.
Fourth line stays hot
It hasn’t mattered who lines up at winger alongside Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway, that line has been a steady offensive force for the first two weeks of the season.
On Monday, it was the 24-year-old Beck Malenstyn making his season debut at left wing on the fourth line. He and Hathaway helped Dowd get the Capitals’ scoring going in the first period, working the puck behind the net before finding Dowd in the perfect spot to beat a transitioning Blackwood on his glove side.
Hathaway then made it 2-1 about midway through the second period, stopping a puck along the board with his hand before smacking a shot off Blackwood’s shoulder for the score.
WHAT A PLAY BY HATH ð±
â¢ stole the puck with his hand
â¢ fired a laser off a bouncing biscuit
â¢ took a big hit pic.twitter.com/CW2bKYJptE
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) October 25, 2022
While Malenstyn joined Sheary and Joe Snively as wingers to skate on the fourth line this season, Dowd and Hathaway have been a consistent presence and the group as a whole has remained productive.
Lindgren picks up first win for Capitals
The Capitals picked up the victory despite being outshot 41-22. That was as much due to their offensive performance as it was to the play of Lindgren, who posted a .925 save percentage to earn his first win since joining Washington over the offseason.
Lindgren, 28, made just his second start of the year after Washington leaned on starter Darcy Kuemper for five of their first six games. Though he was stuck with a tough-luck loss in his Capitals debut, the netminder didn’t show any signs of rust when he suited up Monday.
The Devils kept him busy all night, recording double-digit shots in all three periods and picking up four power-play opportunities. Lindgren remained sturdy in net, giving up all three goals only on high-danger chances allowed by the players in front of him.
However, he also provided no shortage of highlight-reel saves.
With the victory, the Capitals moved to 4-3 with eight points toward the standings. They’ll have two days off before traveling to take on the red-hot Dallas Stars on Thursday.
Source: Yahoo Sports