Caps blank the Devils, head into break winners of 2 straight

Caps blank the Devils, head into break winners of 2 straight
February 8, 2014, 10:30 pm
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(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 3-0 win over the New Jersey DevilsSaturday night at Verizon Center:

How it happened: After 50 minutes of scoreless hockey Capitals defenseman Julien Brouillette made his first NHL goal of his career the game winner midway though the third period. Marty Erat and Karl Alzner scored into the Devils’ empty net to provide the three-goal difference. Goaltender Braden Holtby stopped all 25 shots for his third shutout of the season and 10th shutout of his career.

What it means: The Capitals win, their second in a row, moved them two points ahead of the Devils and within one point of a playoff spot as the head into the Olympic break.

How they scored: With 10:50 gone in the third period Caps defenseman Julien Bouillette took a cross-ice pass from rookie defense partner Patrick Wey and snapped a wrist shot through a screen and Cory Schneider’s right shoulder for his first NHL goal in his second NHL game. It marked the second points in as many games for Brouillette and Wey.

Save of the night: Cory Schneider was solid all night. He squared up to stop Troy Brouwer from the slot on a first-period power play opportunity set up by Jason Chimera from the goal line.

[MORE: Oates with special advice for Ovi]

Post Script: The Devils’ best chance of the first 40 minutes came 3:17 into the second period when Adam Henrique took a centering pass from Michael Ryder and rang a shot off the left post. Alex Ovechkin had an equally good chance to score on a power play in the third period, but his wrist shot ticked off the crossbar and into the protective netting behind the net.

What’s next: The Capitals’ five Olympians – Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Marcus Johansson and Marty Erat will head to Newark on Sunday for a 10-hour charter flight that will get them to Sochi, Russia at daybreak on Monday morning. Five other Caps will be heading to the Carribbean islands, while defensemen Patrick Wey and Julien Brouillete and center Casey Wellman return to the Hershey Bears. Aside from the Olympians, the players have been asked to report back to Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Wednesday, Feb. 19.