Philipp Grubauer, Washington Capitals shut down New Jersey Devils

By Jim Cerny, The Sports Xchange  |  Jan. 1, 2017 at 11:07 AM
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NEWARK, N.J. -- In a battle of backup goalies, Philipp Grubauer and the Washington Capitals defeated Keith Kinkaid and the New Jersey Devils, 6-2, in a New Year's Eve matinee on Saturday at the Prudential Center.

Grubauer made 21 saves, while Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams led Washington (21-9-5) with a goal and an assist each. Six players scored goals for the Capitals, and 13 recorded at least one point.

Kinkaid finished with 20 saves for the Devils (14-16-7), who failed on each of their season-high nine power play opportunities Saturday.

"I don't think we played bad by any means," said Kinkaid, who stopped 43 of 44 shots on Thursday night, when the Devils defeated the Capitals, 2-1, in the front end of this home-and-home set.

"They were just opportunistic and got deflections and the bounces."

The Devils not only lost the game, dropping to 2-9-1 in their last 12 overall, but they also lost defenseman John Moore early in the contest.

While handling the puck behind his net, Moore was checked hard into the boards from behind by Washington's Tom Wilson only 3:10 into the game.

Moore was removed from the ice on a stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital. Devils coach John Hynes reported after the game that Moore was being released from the hospital and had nothing further to report.

"I wouldn't necessarily say it was a dirty play, but it looked like a hit from behind, his back was turned by the glass," Hynes said of the unpenalized check. "It looked like it was a penalty."

For his part, Wilson said: "It's probably one of the worst things in hockey to see a guy go down like that. You never want to see that. Obviously, that not my intent, and I'm wishing him the best."

Washington raced to leads of 2-0 after one period and 5-1 after two, as they improved to 8-0-1 in their last nine games against the Devils dating to Dec. 6, 2014.

Brett Connolly drove to the net untouched to deflect Andre Burakovsky's pass past Kinkaid only 2:36 into the game to give the Capitals the early lead.

Jay Beagle tipped another one past Kinkaid with 58.9 seconds remaining in the opening period to double Washington's advantage.

Though they failed on three first-period power plays, and another five in the following period, the Devils managed to close to within 2-1 on Kyle Palmieri's unassisted goal with the teams skating 3-on-3 at the 6:53 mark of the second.

Grubauer made sure the Devils did not pull even less than two minutes later when he made a clutch pad save after P.A. Parenteau had slipped behind the Capitals defense.

"The PK was really the big difference, and Grubauer made some real key saves when the game was tight," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.

Washington pulled away by scoring three goals in a 6 1/2-minute span to secure a 5-1 lead before the second intermission.

Oshie netted his 11th goal at 11:05, Ovechkin banked his team-high 17th off Kinkaid's skate and into the net 33 seconds later, and a deflection by Williams gave the Capitals a four-goal advantage at 16:34.

New Jersey's Beau Bennett and Washington's Marcus Johansson exchanged goals 35 seconds apart late in the third period to close out the scoring.

Bennett's second of the season came at 14:52 and Johansson added his 14th at 15:27.

"Having a game like that can only help our confidence," said Trotz, whose Capitals are 2-2-2 in their last six following a six-game winning streak. "We had good balance. That's where you want to be as a team, where your offense piggybacks your defense. It did tonight."

NOTES: The last time goaltender Keith Kinkaid started consecutive games for the Devils was March 29-31 last season, when a knee injury sidelined starter Cory Schneider. ... New Jersey was without injured left wing Taylor Hall (lower body, day to day) and center Vernon Fiddler (lower body, 3-4 weeks). ... The healthy scratches for the Devils were defenseman Yohann Auvitu and center Pavel Zacha. ... Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer started for only the fourth time in the last 20 games. Grubauer won each of his previous three starts, allowing five goals in total. ... Left wing Jakub Vrana and defenseman Taylor Chorney were healthy scratches for Washington.

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