The New Jersey Devils (25-26-12) drop their season finale 1-0 against the Washington Capitals (43-13-7) in a slow, low-scoring, and uneventful game. The Capitals outshot the Devils 24-15, and Kyle Palmieri and Miles Wood led the team with three shots on goal each. Jakub Vrana scored the lone goal, his second of the season. The Devils have now lost five straight games and have lost their last four by only one goal. The Devils were shutout for the fifth time and they went 1-3-0 against the Capitals this season. The Capitals do win their 14th consecutive game at home, which is a new franchise record. Their previous record-holder was a 13-game winning streak from January 5th to March 6th, back in 2010.
Losing a one-goal game against the league-leading Capitals isn’t a complete loss, especially when you’re facing one of the world’s best goaltenders. Braden Holtby saved all 15 shots faced and earned his now league-leading 8th shutout of the season, moving past Peter Budaj. He was excellent all night long as was Cory Schneider, who made 23 saves on 24 shots faced (.958 save percentage).
The Devils killed four of five Washington power plays but went 0-4 on their own, including a four-minute minor towards the end of the third period. For a power play unit that’s been phenomenal in their last 12 games or so, not scoring in four opportunities (and a four-minute minor) is a little disappointing. However, the Capitals do have the 6th best penalty kill in the league.
The kids are alright. Kevin Rooney made his NHL debut in front of his family tonight. He had a really good chance on a breakaway earlier in the game but was stopped by Holtby. He had a hit, a blocked shot, and won 60% of faceoffs in 9:48 of ice time. New Jersey won 51.9% of faceoffs overall. Wood did have three shots on goal but four penalties (in minutes). Joseph Blandisi had a single shot on goal and seven PIM. Stefan Noesen had two shots on goal as well. Steven Santini got into a scrum with Tom Wilson in the first and Adam Henrique shoved him (Wilson) before things could escalate. Giving the rookies (and the other young ones) more playing time is only going to help them and the team in the future, and they’re fun to watch.
Michael Cammalleri did take a hit and took a few seconds to get off the ice and into the locker room. He did return but not for long. There are no updates on him yet.
The Devils will be back in action and will try to find a way to snap their five-game losing streak against the Boston Bruins Saturday night; puck drops at 7PM.