Coach Trotz had some surprises up his sleeve as he made some changes to the lines:
Ovechkin Kuznetsov Williams
Burakovsky Backstrom Oshie
Chimera Johansson Wilson
Laich Richards Latta
And Holtby in the Net.
The change infused some new energy into the lines and took away the element of complacent winning. TJ Oshie emerged as his old self with three shots and a goal! All but three players (Richards, Johansson and Burkovsky) had a SOG. And Braden Holtby had 21 saves. Everyone left the Verizon Center smiling and cheering!!
First Period: Sloppy First
The period was less than stellar for the Captials. The fourth line came close this period with Laich and Latta bringing the energy. The Caps were outshot 14 to 8 and it showed in the end result. The Devils scored first and there was a hush at Verizon that was not to last long because our captain was having none of that. Unfortunately, the Devils turned it around and took the lead before the end of the period.
Goals: Devils Travis Zajac with a wrist shot, assisted by Reid Boucher and Kyle Plmieri. Alex Ovechkin wrist shot, unassisted. Kyle Palmieri assisted by Reid Boucher.
Penalties: Brooks Laich called for interference against Jon Merrill; Jacob Josefson interference against Mike Richards;
Score: 1- 2 Devils
Second Period: Fourth Line Power
Tom Wilson took a high stick and the Caps went on the power play. Tom was ok, but the Caps failed to make the advantage count. In the midst of a line change, Kuzy simply flew out and scored, with help from his fourth-line friends. Hand Twirl from Kuzy. It was a quick moving period in which Washington bridged the shooting gap with New Jersey and then some. With about 6 seconds on the clock the Devils made a good stab at scoring but Holby was having none of it. John Carlson had a few choice words with Stephen Gionata but no worries, still all tied.
Goals: Evgeny Kuznetsov, Michael Latta on the primary and Brooks Laich with the secondary assist.
Penalties: Seth Helgeson hi-stick to Tom Wilson.
Third Period: The “Os” Have it.
Slow start to the period until the Capitals were delivered a power play in the first four minutes of the game. Caps still not able to convert on the advantage. 2-2 and everyone wants to score next. The second line was a little sluggish at first until Backstrom finally got a shot off-but no goal. A shot from the Devils hit off Holtby’s glove and flies in. Second time one seemed to surprise Braden. The energy at Verizon seemed to flow down to the ice because with a sense of determination, TJ Oshie scored to tie the game again. And Bang Bang the defense scores and Orpik proves HE IS BACK!!!!!
Goals: Reid Boucher wrist shot assisted by Travis Zajac and John Moore. TJ Oshie with a backhander scores, assisted by Dmitry Orlov and Brooks Orpik. Brooks Orpik with Kuzy and Ovi assisting.
Penalties: Devils with too many men on the ice served by Joseph Blandisi.
The fourth line was the strength of the game. They gave the first lines a break when they needed it but they played hard when they were on the ice, creating a scoring opportunity for Kuznetsov. Oveckin continued as the shooting king of the Caps with six shots and a goal It was good to see TJ Oshie looking more like himself—maybe this line shifting worked after all.
Without a doubt Brooks Orpik with the STAR OF THE NIGHT!
And Congratulations to TJ Oshie on his 500th NHL Game. Way to celebrate!
Photos by: Mel Abernethy