September 20, 2019

Washington Capitals Game 26 Recap: Holtby, Secondary scoring leads Caps over Devils on road

Karl Alzner, Jay Beagle, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Brooks Laich all scored, and Braden Holtby was often spectacular, as the Washington Capitals took care of the New Jersey Devils on the road, 4-1.

It’s the first time the Caps (12-10-4) have won back-to-back games in regulation this season. The win allows the Caps to slide into third place in the Metropolitan Division with the New York Rangers loss.

Holtby made 34 saves in the effort, including an impressive effort again Marin Gelinas while short-handed when it was still close. Then in the third he made 15 saves, including robbing Jaromir Jagr twice as the Devils peppered him with shots in attempt to get back into the contest.Alzner got the Caps on the board just 3:47 in with an innocuous wrister shot that slipped past Cory Schneider. Patrick Elias tied it less than three minutes later, knocking a puck out of midair past Holtby after Dainius Zubrus beat Alzner cleanly to the outside and got a quality attempt on net.

Beagle scored his fourth of the year (good boy) at 9:15 of the second, charging down the right wing, cutting in front of Schneider to put the puck on his backhand, and calmly dumping the puck into the open net.

Kuznetsov registered a power play goal at 12:40 of the second, an absolute snipe walking in from the half-boards while occupying Nick Backstrom’s spot on the second unit.

Laich added an empty net goal from center ice with 25 seconds left in the contest.

Observations:

  • This was one of Holtby’s better games all season. He sort of put himself out of position a bit on the only goal he allowed by trying to poke-check Zubrus instead of just playing the angle and swallowing any rebound. But other that that, hard to find fault in his play.
  • Speaking of best games of the year, there’s a limited number to choose from as far as Laich is concerned, but he and linemates Eric Fehr and Joel Ward were strong on the cycle all night long, and nice to see him rewarded with the empty-netter late.
  • To their benefit, the Caps didn’t get Schneider’s best game. The Alzner goal was right in front of him and he just whiffed. He was deked by Jay Beagle! Kuzya’s PP goal was a snipe, but it was a short-side goal. Not Schneider’s best work.
  • You know didn’t have a great game? Alex Ovechkin. One shot on goal, two blocked and one miss. Not credited for a hit. Of course, Jersey outhit the Caps 19-9, so there may be some hometown bias in the awarding of the very subjective stat.
  • Michael Latta was 9 of 13 in the dot and played a pesky, disruptive game on the fourth line. I think this year of experience is going to allow him to slide into the 3C role next year very well. The only silver lining in the trade that brought him here.
About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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