Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils Saturday night at Verizon Center:
How it happened: Evgeny Kuznetsov scored one goal and set up Brooks Orpik for the game-winner with 3:58 remaining in regulation, giving the Caps a wild win. The Caps and Devils went into the third period locked in a 2-2 tie and the Devils grabbed the lead on a goal by Reid Boucher. The Caps fought back to tie on a goal by T.J. Oshie and took the lead on Orpik’s second goal of the season.
What it means: The Caps have won three straight and eight of their last nine games and improved to 18-1-1 in their last 20 games at Verizon Center. They moved 25 points ahead of the Devils in the Metro standings and have won six straight over New Jersey.
Kuz-tastic: Evgeny Kuznestov notched his 17th goal of the season and added an assist, giving him a team-high 60 points in 57 games. Kuznetsov’s goal total is his most since netting 19 goals in 51 games for Chelyabinsk of the KHL in 2012-13. Kuznetsov’s goal came after Brooks Laich and Michael Latta kept the puck alive with strong work down low. Latta got the puck to Kuznetsov and earned his first point since Dec. 21, a stretch of 17 games. Laich’s assist was his second point of 2016.
Ovi’s assault: Alex Ovechkin snuck a shot through the pads of Cory Schneider with 2:58 remaining in the first period for his NHL-leading 38th goal and the 513th of his career. That ties him with Jeremy Roenick for 37th on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. Next up? Pierre Turgeon (515), Dale Hawerchuk (518) and Pat Verbeek (522).
Rooftop view: Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri gave Braden Holtby fits in the first period. First he drew Holtby out of the net with a nice deke and drive past caps defenseman Karl Alzner to set up a goal by Travis Zajac 15:28 into the game. Then, with 28 seconds remaining in the same period, he ripped a shot from the right goal line over Holtby’s left shoulder, off his back and under the crossbar for his team-leading 22nd goal of the season.
Look ahead: The Caps have the day off on Sunday and will continue their four-game homestand Monday night against the Arizona Coyotes. They continue with visits from the struggling Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday and Minnesota Wild on Friday before heading to Chicago for a matinee game against the defending Cup champs.