The Caps wrapped up the regular season on a high-note with a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. Even with nothing to play for, the Caps managed to take control in the third period and put away the Devils. Here’s how.
Alex Ovechkin really wanted 50
From the very first shift it was clear that Ovechkin was on a mission. He wanted to reach 50 goals for the season. Ovechkin started the game just three goals shy and he got goal No. 48 just 2:21 into the game. It looked like he might get all three in the first period the way he was playing. His second goal came in the third period when he was able to grab an ill-advised clear attempt and quickly fire it on net. In the end, he came up one goal shy, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Ovechkin finished the game with 16 shot attempts, eight of which were on goal. With the game well in hand, the last five minutes of the game just became about getting him the puck to try to get him No. 50.
Michal Kempny’s best game as a Cap
Kempny has provided stability to the Capitals’ top four on defense, but his offensive game was on fire on Saturday. He scored his second goal as a Cap in the second period on a slap shot from the point. That goal also gave Shane Gersich his first NHL point as he tallied an assist on the play. Kempny later set up Andre Burakovsky in the third period right on the doorstep for the team’s fifth goal on the night.
The Devils’ lineup
The Caps were locked into their playoff position and had nothing to play for. New Jersey had considerably more on the line Saturday as they could have climbed as high as third in the division or sank as low as the second wild card. The Devils decided to take their chances and did not dress Taylor Hall, Travis Zajac, Kyle Palmieri, Sami Vatanen or goalie Keith Kinkaid. New Jersey put up a fight, but ultimately could not keep up with the Caps’ full roster. The loss certainly cost the Devils as it dropped them to the second wild card, meaning they will play the winner of the Atlantic Division in the first round.