Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devils Lack 'O,' Lose to Capitals

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devils Lack 'O,' Lose to Capitals

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - Devils general manager Ray Shero sold, albeit moderately, at the NHL trade deadline.

So the rest of this season, while still harboring faint hopes of making the playoffs, is about testing a group that will try to blend inexperienced players into the team's core.

"We're starting to see some of those results pay off in the types of players we have and the type of game we played tonight," Devils coach John Hynes said.

The Devils were successful in keeping the high-scoring, NHL-leading Capitals in check with a structured effort. But the Capitals showed they can also play that way in a 1-0 win on Thursday night at Verizon Center.

The Capitals (43-13-7) won a franchise record 14th straight home game, dating to their 2-1 shootout loss to the Devils on Dec. 29. Braden Holtby needed to make just 15 saves for his eighth shutout as the Devils (25-26-12), on an 0-3-2 skid with four straight one-goal losses, were held to a season low for shots.

"That was our most disciplined game of the year," said defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who blocked five shots and spent the game in a physical battle with Alex Ovechkin. "That's the New Jersey Devils team that I was so excited to join. We took away their ice. We slowed down the best team in the league and we were a special teams' play or two away from beating them. I thought our forwards had maybe their best game of the year and they didn't score a goal. We played exactly how we needed to play to win."

The Capitals finally broke the scoreless tie on Jakub Vrana's power-play goal at 7:21 of the third period. Vrana converted a loose puck at the crease after defenseman John Carlson hit the near post from the right circle.

The Capitals were 1 for 5 on the power play with nine man-advantage shots while the Devils, who had been 6 for 11 over their last five games, were 0 for 4 with two shots. …

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