The Washington Capitals, with captain Alex Ovechkin once again with a lower body injury, continued their lackluster play, dropping a 2-1 decision to the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center Friday night.
It was the Caps (22-21-8) seventh loss in a row and fifth consecutive loss in regulation. They drop three points behind New Jersey in the Metropolitan Division and remain just three points ahead of the New York Islanders for eighth — and last — place in the division.
It didn’t take the Devils long to grab the lead. Just 4:57 in, Martin Erat tried to hit Dmitry Orlov with a pass in the offensive zone. The puck got turned over, and the Devils went racing back the other way with the Caps in the middle of a line change. Stephen Gionta kept the puck and fired a slap shot that ate up Michal Neuvirth, with the puck slipping between his body and his blocker arm.
The Caps were outplayed throughout the frame, with plenty of turnovers and lack of urgency. New Jersey took 17 total shots, with 11 going on goal, three blocked and three missing the mark. The Caps managed just 12 total shots — six on goal.
New Jersey scored again quickly in the second period. With Dmitry Orlov off for a holding penalty, Jaromir Jagr found Adam Henrique completely alone on the far post, who tapped in for a 2-0 lead. Jagr’s second assist of the game tied him with Mario Lemieux for 10th all-time in assists in the NHL.
After three power play failures, the Caps finally got on the board at 10:10 of the third period. John Erskine sent a wrist shot toward the net that seemed to get redirected several times, the last by Jason Chimera, who was credited for the goal to cut the Devils lead to 2-1.
But it was too little, too late as the Caps couldn’t muster a shot on goal in the final minute playing 6-on-5.
The Capitals travel to Montreal to face Les Habitents Saturday night at 7:30 pm.
NOTES: Mikhail Grabovski was injured in the second period when he got tangles with Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador. He left the ice favoring his left leg, which appeared to get twisted when Salvador fell on him. He tried to skate at the start of the third period, but went back to the dressing room and did not return to the game.