Headline Graphic Credit: Darrell Owens-LMS Network
WASHINGTON — Nicklas Backstrom had a hat trick and an assist to help the Washington Capitals win their seventh straight game, 6-3 against the New Jersey Devils at Capital One Arena on Friday. It’s the Capitals’ longest winning streak since they won nine consecutive games from Dec. 31, 2016-Jan. 15, 2017.
Backstrom has had at least three points for the second straight game and has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in his past 14. He had three assists in a 4-1 win at the New York Islanders on Monday. “He’s the backbone of our team,” Capitals goalie Braden Holtby said. “He shows up every game to play a complete game, defensively, offensively. He’s one of the best players in the game right now.”
“We’re challenged by it, that’s for sure,” Devils coach John Hynes said of playing on the road. “But I think it’s a situation where you have to continue to work at it and look at solutions and look at different ways where you can do a better job.”
New Jersey went 0-for-5 on the power play and is 1-for-28 in its past 12 games. Johansson pulled the Devils within 4-3 with 1:50 remaining in the third period, but Ovechkin scored into an empty net 20 seconds later to make it 5-3 and Backstrom did the same with 22 seconds remaining to net him the Hat Trick and seal the 6-3 win for Washington.
With Ovechkin’s goal, he passed Joe Sakic and Jarome Iginla for sole possession of 15th place on the NHL goals list with 626.
TWIZZLING THE TWINE
Backstrom gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 3:51 into the first period. Ovechkin carried the puck into the zone and passed in front to Backstrom, who poked the puck past Kinkaid.
Wilson’s shorthanded goal made it 2-0 at eight seconds of the second period. Matt Niskanen sent the puck around the boards and Wilson got to it first to score from a tough angle.
New Jersey got within 2-1 on a shorthanded goal at 9:23 when Holtby stopped Blake Coleman‘s shot on a 2-on-1 and Zajac knocked in the rebound.
“I think Holtby really kept us in the game in the second,” Backstrom said. “We had four breakaways in the second period and he stopped all of them.”
Burakovsky made it 3-1 at 5:45 of the third period after he split two defenders.
Backstrom’s second goal, on a 5-on-3 power play, made it 4-1 at 10:57 but Hischier answered at 12:35 to make it 4-2.
New Jersey has allowed at least four goals in each of its past four games… Devils forward Michael McLeod, the No. 12 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, played 5:36 in his NHL debut. … Washington center Evgeny Kuznetsov had an assist in 17:37 of ice time in his return after missing six games because of an upper-body injury. … Ovechkin has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in a seven-game point streak.
Devils: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday (Dec. 1)
Capitals: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday (Dec. 2)