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Devils outmatched by Ovi, Backstrom in 6-3 loss to Caps

Judging by the start of the first two periods, one would think that the Devils were going to control this game. However, a combination of turnovers and poor defense, especially in 4-on-4 matchups, shifted the momentum in the Capitals’ favor. 

The Devils kicked off the first period with a power play goal from Kyle Palmieri, who tipped in a shot from Nico Hischier. Hischier and P.K. Subban were credited with the assists. The power play goal indicated a strong start from the Devils after only scoring 2 goals in 18 attempts in their last 5 games. Unfortunately that solid offensive effort was short-lived, as the Capitals later took over after two goals in a span of one minute and ten seconds. The first goal came from Alex Ovechkin, on assists from Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom then scored the following goal just before the end of the first period to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead. 

The Devils came back into the second period rejuvenated, as Blake Coleman scored the tying goal while crashing into the net and knocking it off its moorings. The Devils turned it around on offense in the second period, as they had 11 shots on goals, as opposed to six in the first period. Similar to the first period, the Capitals finished off the period with a late goal, regaining the lead 3-2. The period ended with some excitement though. Devils center Travis Zajac and Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov got into an altercation as time expired in the second period with Coleman simultaneously being tackled by Capitals forward T.J. Oshie. 

Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood had a very solid outing but the defense gave him no help, to the point of Blackwood being pulled with a 5-2 deficit in the third period. Head coach Alain Nasreddine defended his goalie after the game, mentioning that the substitution had nothing to do with Blackwood’s performance. “It’s definitely not the reason why we pulled him…it’s to actually save him some energy to give us an option to go back to him tomorrow. Definitely not his fault.”

Despite a late goal in the third period by Miles Wood, the Devils showed no signs of staging a comeback, as they surrendered three goals late.  The final score was 6-3 in favor of the Capitals. The Devils will now head to Columbus, OH to face the Blue Jackets Saturday night. 

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