Washington - Lawrence Nycholat - 1st NHL Goal, from Ovechkin and Zubrus at 5:25.
Devils - Scott Gomez - 5th of the Season, from Elias and Martin at 18:53.
Devils - Sergei Brylin (PP)- 8th of the Season, from Rafalski and Parise at 6:22.
Devils - Scott Gomez - 2nd of the Game, 6th of the Season, from Gionta and Elias at 13:31.
Washington - Brooks Laich (PP) - 4th of the Season, from Nycholat and Beech at 16:50.
Devils - Patrick Elias - 14th of the Season, from Gomez and Martin at 6:43.
Washington - Alexander Semin - 17th of the Season, Unassisted at 19:14.
In what this blogger called a "must-have" game for the New Jersey Devils, they played their game. Once again playing in front of a season-high crowd --16,297--this holiday season, the game was driven by Martin Brodeur making some very key, very spectacular saves on the Capitals at points in the third period, and once again --timely scoring-- but this time, it came from the guys you want tickling the twine.
It started auspiciously enough for New Jersey, seconds after failing to capitalize on a Power Play, Washington brought it ahead and got the puck to the left point where young Lawrence Nycholat --a call-up from Hershey for this flu-ridden Washington team-- just ripped a shot that hit a Devil stick in front (The overrated Brad Lukowich maybe?) and passed Marty Brodeur.
The Devils answered late in the period on Scott Gomez's 5th of the season. It's about time that Gomer's started putting 'em in the back of the cage. Remember when he was a 30-goal man? Oh yeah, it was LAST YEAR GOMER! Pick it up and learn to shoot it again. Now, I know he was injured but, still, he needs to be encouraged to shoot the puck.
The Devils got their second goal early in the second period. After a Paul Martin shot, Zach Parise and Sergei Brylin both had rebound tries, and Sarge's backhand landed in the net. For Brylin, it was his 8th (Another sign that Gomer should be scoring more) and the man I hope will be the last Devil to ever wear #18 (More in a column next week) got the Devs their first advantage.
It was extended seven minutes later, when Scott Gomez did what every hockey coach tells you to do from about, oh, 4 years and up: "Go to the net, and good things happen. Now go play or something while I finish my JD..." oh, wait that's another story. ANYWAY...he went to the net and redirected the rebound from a Gio shot into the net. After a lengthy review from the crack (not on crack) staff at the Heavens of Mt. Continental, it was ruled Gomez's 6th to make it 3-1 NJ.
The guy who's name sounds like a chocolate and was called up from the chocolate making capital of the world --Lawrence Nycholat from Hershey--figured again in a goal, when he again, just took a shot, and it was redirected off of Brooks Laich's skate and past Brodeur. It was 3-2 heading to the third.
That's when Gomer used his newfound fascination--shooting the puck--to fool the young Washington defense. He fake a shot and brilliant slapped it over to THE CAPTAIN, and, at a terrible angle, ripped it right across into the net. You couldn't have placed it better than Elias did, and it was 4-2.
The Caps struck 1 final time before regulation expired, when Alex Semin ripped a shot home from the point. Many thought either Ovechkin or Chris Clark tipped it en route, but for now it's Semin's 17th unassisted with :46 to go in the game. The Devils held off any of the Caps further efforts--including a buzzer stop by Marty on The Visor-- and got points #44 and #45, winning 4-3. They are 4 points ahead of the Isles, with the showdown coming tomorrow night.