Capitals fall to 'relentless' Devils

Capitals fall to 'relentless' Devils
December 21, 2013, 11:00 pm
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Washington Capitals right wing Eric Fehr (16) and New Jersey Devils center Tim Sestito (23) exchange words behind the net during the third period at Verizon Center. The New Jersey Devils defeated the Washington Capitals 5-4

(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

This one hurt more than most. Or at least it should have.

The Capitals were good enough to grab a pair of two-goal leads on the Devils Saturday night at Verizon Center, and bad enough to let them slip away in a 5-4 overtime loss.

“They are a relentless team,” said Capitals coach Adam Oates, who served as an assistant coach in New Jersey for two seasons before taking the Caps’ job. “They kept coming.”

The Capitals showed some push back, getting a goal from Alex Ovechkin to take a 4-2 lead, but Travis Zajac set up third-period goals by Marek Zidlicky and Dainus Zubrus to send the game into overtime.

Devils defenseman Andy Greene ended it quickly, swatting a Jaromir Jagr rebound out of the air and past Braden Holtby for the game winner 43 seconds into the extra period.

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“We got a point out of it, it’s not like it’s the end of the world,” said Capitals left wing Jason Chimera, who got the Caps on the scoreboard with his seventh goal of the season. “They are a good team and they’re playing desperate. Three out of four points on the weekend is not too bad.”

Joel Ward seemed less appreciative after the loss, noting that his line, which includes Chimera and Marty Erat, was on the ice for three of the Devils’ five goals.

“Our line just didn't get it done,” Ward said. “Our line just dropped the ball. We were on for three, which is unacceptable.”

Holtby also was below average between the pipes, allowing five goals on 37 shots after a strong start. His giveaway along the defensive left wing wall led to Zubrus’ game-tying goal with 8:13 remaining in regulation.

“Tough one on the fourth goal,” Oates said. “Holts played it up the wall and it just bounced perfect on [Zajac’s] tape so he could rip it t the net and [Zubrus] tipped it before he could get back in the net.”

It was also a rough night for the defensive pairing of Karl Alzner, who was on the ice for four goals by the Devils, and John Carlson, who was on the ice for all five.

The setback makes for another interesting decision for Oates, who has three healthy goalies eager to face the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night in the long-awaited return to Washington of former coach Bruce Boudreau.