Backstrom's 4-point night leads Capitals past Devils

The Associated Press
Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and three assists and the Washington Capitals knocked the surprising New Jersey Devils from the unbeaten ranks with a 5-2 victory Friday night.

T.J. Oshie had two goals and an assist, and Alex Ovechkin scored his ninth of the season and set up Backstrom's power-play tally to help Washington hand New Jersey its first loss in four games.

Jacub Vrana also scored for the Capitals, and Braden Holtby had 21 saves. Washington is 8-0-1 in its last nine games against New Jersey.

Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri scored for the Devils, who had surprised many with their quick start after finishing in the basement in the Eastern Conference last season. Cory Schneider made 23 saves, getting beat three times on the power play.

The Capitals clearly were the better team in this one. They forechecked well and bottled up the Devils in the neutral zone, limiting an offense that had 16 goals in its first three games.

Backstrom, who left the pregame skate early and didn't return, intercepted a puck in the New Jersey zone after it came off defenseman John Moore's stick. Backstrom found Oshie coming down the middle for his fourth goal of the season with 5:11 left in the first period.

Ovechkin, who had seven goals in his first two games, scored from his office in the left circle on a power play after being set up by Backstrom 8:01 into the second period.

Hall scored his first of the season on a power play with 3:32 left in the second, but Vrana pushed the lead back to two goals, tipping a shot by former Devil Devante Smith-Pelly past Schneider with a minute left in the period.

Palmieri cut it to 3-2 with a backhander in close 53 seconds into the final period.

However, Pavel Zacha took a four-minute high-sticking penalty for cutting Lars Eller at 4:10. Oshie and Backstrom scored with the extra man to put the game out of reach.

UP NEXT:

Capitals: At Philadelphia on Saturday night.

Devils: At New York Rangers on Saturday night.

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