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New season, same result for NJ Devils as major struggles vs. Capitals continue

Andrew Tredinnick, The Record on

Published in Hockey

In their opening two wins against the Blackhawks and Kraken, the Devils were pressed down the stretch but never trailed. They outscored those two teams 3-0 in the first period.

The Capitals put the Devils on their back foot for the first time all season in the early goal.

Four minutes into the game, the puck slipped past Severson near the boards and kickstarted an odd-man rush for the Capitals. Severson and Dougie Hamilton both went sprawling to the ground but Sprong tracked down his own deflected pass behind the goal and found Anthony Mantha wide-open in front of the net to make it 1-0.

They doubled that margin five minutes later when Dmitry Orlov found Alex Ovechkin in the slot and then crashed the net and cashed in on a rebound between Ryan Grave and Andres Johnsson to make it 2-0 at the 10:26 mark of the first.

It was a first period to forget for the Devils. They were outshot 13-8, while the Capitals controlled 77 percent of the faceoffs. The Capitals' forecheck seemed to fluster the Devils in their own zone.

Uneven performance for Wedgewood

With Blackwood and Bernier both sidelined with injuries, third-string goalie Wedgewood was called into action for the Devils.

 

He saved 23 of the 27 shots he face in the game. While it was not the best save percentage, Wedgewood faced a number of odd-man situations and stood tall.

With a little more than seven minutes left to play in the second period, Ovechkin circled inside the blue line and dropped to one knee but delivered a sharp pass to Kuznetzov. Wedgewood slid to his right to make a toe save at the right post.

Three minutes later, the Capitals broke out on a 3-on-1 and Wedgewood was able to smother a chance from Conor Sheary.

On the second power play of the game in the third, he made a quick move to rob Mantha near the right post.

Blackwood was beat underneath his pads on a breakaway from Sprong. On the fourth goal, Kuznetsov deposited a giveaway in front of the goal.

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