NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Braden Holtby made 21 saves, Nicklas Backstrom had two goals and an assist and the Washington Capitals continued to roll with a 4-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
Alex Ovechkin added a spectacular unassisted goal and defenseman Mike Green also scored as the Capitals extended their team points streak to eight games (6-0-2).
The shutout was the second of the season for Holtby, who has started every game in the Capitals’ current run. He is now 11-3-3 in his last 17 starts.
Cory Schneider had 17 saves for the Devils, who again failed to win consecutive games for the first time since the middle of last month. New Jersey is now 3-8-4 in its last 15 games.
This was the fourth of five games between the teams and Washington is 3-1. Holtby has started all four, and his only loss was 1-0.
After a scoreless and listless first period, Green opened the scoring by ending an 18-game goal-scoring drought. Backstrom did most of the work by lugging the puck from behind the Devils’ net to the blue line. He slid the puck to Jack Hillen and the little-used defenseman found Green for a ripping shot from above the right circle that beat a well-screened Schneider at 3:08.
The Devils came close to tying the score just before Backstrom stretched the lead to 2-0.
Defenseman Peter Harrold floated a shot from the right point that landed in the crease. Travis Zajac and Steve Bernier tried to reach the loose puck but Backstrom helped clear and seconds later beat Schneider from the left circle after taking a drop pass from Jay Beagle.
Holtby maintained the two-goal lead by stopping Mike Sislo on a breakaway minutes later.
Ovechkin, who had two shots bang off goalposts earlier in the game, ended all doubt at 7:16 of the third period with with his 15th goal. It was a beauty. He took a loose puck in front of the Washington bench, skated up the ice, deked around defense Jon Merrill while avoiding a hip check and backhanded a shot into the top of the net as he was going down.
Schneider got a little revenge with 9:12 left in the game when he stoned Ovechkin on a penalty shot.
Backstrom closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal, his 10th of the season.
NOTES: The Devils called up D Adam Larsson and Sislo from Albany (AHL) earlier in the day. Only Sislo played, replacing slump-ridden Michael Ryder, who has not scored a goal in 20 games …Hillen’s assist on Green’s goal was his first point of the season. …Washington is 8-1-2 against Metropolitan Division opponents, and had three of next four games against teams from the division.
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