NHL Game Recap: New Jersey Devils vs. Washington Capitals | 02/20/2024

Connor McMichael scores on Nico Daws
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils fell 6-2 to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night in the nation’s capital. Despite heavily outshooting Washington, the Devils were a bit disconnected and couldn’t capitalize on chances. With the loss, the Devils fell to 28-23-4, while Washington improved to 25-21-8.

Game Recap

Period One

The Devils gave up an early goal just 0:39 seconds into the game. They failed to clear a rebound, and Connor McMichael beat Nico Daws for his ninth goal of the season. Aliaksei Protas and Rasmus Sandin collected the assists.

New Jersey quickly found their legs and turned the ice in their favor with the next seven shots on net.

The Devils were eventually rewarded for their play with the tying goal from Alexander Holtz at 15:06. Simon Nemec added the lone assist with an excellent takeaway from T.J. Oshie before finding Holtz at the net front.

The Devils outshot Washington 10-8 in the period.

Period Two

The Devils conceded another early goal at 4:17 to McMichael on just the ninth shot of the game for the Capitals. The goal was unassisted.

Despite a dominant effort from New Jersey, they couldn’t beat Charlie Lindgren to draw even.

They outshot the Capitals 17-7 in the middle frame.

Period Three

The Devils came out strong in the third period but again allowed an early goal at 4:10. Dylan Strome scored off a rebound from Alexander Ovechkin and Sonny Milano.

Then, at 8:44, Ovechkin scored his 15th goal of the season off a face-off win for Washington. Strome collected the only assist.

New Jersey mounted some more pressure but surrendered a fifth goal at 12:27. Michael Sgarbossa found a rebound for his first of the season, assisted by John Carlson and Max Pacioretty.

The Devils pulled back within three at 15:34 when Erik Haula split the Capitals and beat Lindgren up high. Tyler Toffoli and Brendan Smith tallied the assists.

However, Ovechkin scored his second of the night at 19:27 on the power play to make it 6-2. Strome and Oshie added the assists.

The Devils outshot the Capitals 39-26 in the defeat.

Takeaways

The Devils had an uncharacteristically poor defensive performance in Washington. They allowed the Capitals too much time in front of the net and had a hard time clearing out rebounds, something that had been a strength since the all-star break. In net, Daws didn’t have his strongest performance either. He allowed six goals on 26 total shots for a .769 SV%. He also had a -3.35 GSAx.

The power play continued to struggle as it went 0-2 against the Capitals. Since the new year, it has been operating at just 8.5% and has converted on five out of 59 attempts. This is a stark drop off from before the new year when the power play was clicking at a dangerous 30.3%. The power play has been even worse on the road since the new year, at 4.5%. The Dougie Hamilton injury continues to be a tremendous loss for New Jersey on the man advantage as they miss his elite shot from the blue line. However, with him sidelined for the time being, the Devils need to adjust the power play units to regain any kind of offensive threat.

Up Next

The Devils look to bounce back at home on Thursday night when they take on the New York Rangers in this season’s second edition of the Hudson River Rivalry.

The Rangers currently sit atop the Metropolitan Division with a 36-16-3 record. They won the first meeting against the Devils 5-3 on November 18th.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST.

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