Ovechkin scores game-winner as Capitals sweep Devils

Alex Ovechkin scored the game-winner as the Washington Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2.

NEWARK, N.J. — Alex Ovechkin broke a second-period tie and the streaking Washington Capitals welcomed back top goaltender Iyla Samsonov with a 3-2 victory over the skidding New Jersey Devils on Sunday.

Samsonov made 19 saves and looked shaky at times in helping Washington win its third straight game and sixth of eight (6-1-1). Nicklas Backstrom and Jakub Vrana also scored as the Caps swept a weekend series at the Prudential Center.

Rookies Mikhail Maltsev and Yegor Sharangovich scored for New Jersey, which has lost five of six. Mackenzie Blackwood had 20 saves.

Ovechkin, who had only one goal in his past eight games, snapped a 2-all tie at 13:37, beating Blackwood with a wrist shot from between the circles on a quick counter. It was his seventh of the season and 362nd on the road, tying him for second all time in the NHL with Steve Yzerman. Wayne Gretzky is No. 1 with 402.

Devils forward Nikita Gusev had failed to get off a shot in close in a 1-on-1 against Samsonov seconds earlier.

Samonsov, who was making his first NHL start since Jan. 17 because of COVID-19, was beaten between the arm and body on both goals. Maltsev gave New Jersey an early 1-0 lead and Shrangovich tied it less than a minute after Backstrom scored his team-high 10th.

Samsonov, however, made a last-second save on a shot by Pavel Zacha and then got lucky when a rebound attempt by Kyle Palmieri hit Caps defenceman John Carlson in the back as he was battling in the crease.

Vrana scored his second in as many games to tie it 1-all in the first period.

HISCHIER OUT

Devils captain and top centre Nico Hischier missed the game with an undisclosed upper body injury. He was bloodied in Saturday’s game when hit in the shield by a deflected shot with New Jersey on a third-period power play. The puck pushed the shield hard into his face. Coach Lindy Ruff said the injury was being evaluated Sunday. With Hischier out, Jack Hughes centred the top line and Zacha moved from left wing on the No. 1 line to the centre on the second line.

NOTES: Ovechkin is five points shy of 1,300. … After calling up Samsonov, the Caps placed goaltender Craig Anderson on their taxi squad. … New Jersey assigned D Connor Carrick from Binghamton (AHL) to the taxi squad. … Washington F Evgeny Kuznetsov missed his second straight game with an upper body injury. … Backstrom remains one assist shy of 700.

UP NEXT

Capitals: At Boston on Wednesday for third of five straight on the road. Washington is 5-2-2 on the road.

Devils: Host Islanders on Tuesday in third of five straight at the Prudential Center. New Jersey is 2-6-1 at home.

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