WASHINGTON — The Capitals earned a point against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday behind some opportunistic offense and stellar play from their goaltender, but a four-round shootout ended with Timo Meier earning the Devils a 3-2 victory on the road.
Darcy Kuemper entered the game with at least one win against 31 different NHL franchises throughout his career. The lone team unbeaten against him was New Jersey, carrying a 5-0-2 record with the veteran netminder manning the opponent’s pipes. Kuemper did all he could to put that skid to rest with 38 saves on 40 shots, willing the Capitals through 65 minutes of play.
Coming off a 37-save outing against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, Kuemper once again faced an onslaught of shots courtesy of one of the NHL’s top offensive teams. He bottled up the Devils in 5-on-5 play, allowing just one goal with even strength while the other was scored on the power play when a puck deflected off a Capitals skater into the goal.
The Capitals got off to a sluggish start, needing six and a half minutes of game time to register their first shot on goal. New Jersey maintained possession for most of the period but a costly turnover by Meier allowed the Capitals to fire off a flurry of shots, the final of which made its way through off the stick of Trevor van Riemsdyk with 9.9 seconds to go.
New Jersey got on the board in the second with a pair of goals 37 seconds apart. The Capitals responded quickly, however, when Dylan Strome tapped in a deflected centering pass from T.J. Oshie at the 9:50 mark.
That 2-2 score held through the third period and overtime. A tripping penalty by Meier gave the Capitals 45 seconds of power play time in overtime but they couldn’t convert, sending the game to a shootout. After three rounds of both goaltenders standing tall, Meier made up for his earlier mistakes with the game-winner.
With the loss, the Capitals dropped to 31-28-7. They’ll hit the road for a quick two-game road trip with games against the New York Islanders and New York Rangers beginning Saturday.