WASHINGTON (AP) — Jakub Vrana scored his second goal of the game in overtime to help the Washington Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 5-4 Tuesday night after squandering a three-goal lead.
Washington has won six of seven games, including two in a row since Tom Wilson was suspended for hitting Boston’s Brandon Carlo in the head, but New Jersey earned a point with a dominant third period that featured a 16-5 shot disparity. The Capitals went up 4-1 before the Devils tilted the ice, scoring three consecutive goals to force OT.READ MORE: National Weather Service Confirms EF-1 Tornado Hit Bowie, Second Tornado In Anne Arundel County
T.J. Oshie ended a teamwide 0-for-12 power-play drought with a deflection goal, Vrana scored his first of the night 4-on-4 and Washington got goals from Daniel Sprong and Dmitry Orlov. Vitek Vanecek made 27 saves on 31 shots and just held on amid the Devils’ onslaught in the third.
After Janne Kuokkanen scored in the second period, Miles Wood, Yegor Sharangovich and Damon Severson beat Vanecek in the third to shock the Capitals. A timeout by first-year Washington coach Peter Laviolette after Sharangovich’s goal wasn’t enough to slow the momentum, and Severson tied it with 7:40 left in regulation.
Scott Wedgewood stopped 25 of the 30 shots in his second consecutive start for the Devils, two nights after a 40-save shutout at Boston. Vrana beat him 1:30 into the 3-on-3 OT to prevent the Devils from stringing together back-to-back wins.
Only in the lineup because Wilson is serving a seven-game suspension, Sprong scored his fourth goal of the season in his 14th time in a Capitals uniform.
“I’m a shooter, and if I get that opportunity to shoot, I’m going to let it go,” Sprong said.
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Washington turned to Vanecek despite Ilya Samsonov stopped 36 of 37 shots in a victory at Philadelphia, while New Jersey went right back to Wedgewood instead of undisputed No. 1 goalie Mackenzie Blackwood.
Laviolette said, “There’s no real plan” with his goaltenders but sounded content to give the benefit of the doubt to Vanecek, who started 15 of 16 games while Samsonov battled COVID-19.
“Vitek has been here for us,” Laviolette said. “He’s been reliable. He’s done a good job. He’s given us a chance to win hockey games.”
Before facing the Bruins on Sunday, Wedgewood hadn’t played since a string of five consecutive starts in January. The 28-year-old journeyman’s play has surprised veteran coach Lindy Ruff, who’s in his first season with the Devils.
“He’s a guy that has battled hard to stay in the game, to get the opportunity,” Ruff said. “I’ve really liked how hard he’s worked in practice. His work ethic during the time he didn’t play, from his last start to that start in Boston, didn’t skip a beat. I haven’t seen him with a down day discouraged. (He) just kept working.”
Devils: Visit the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Capitals: Return to Philadelphia for games at the Flyers on Thursday and Saturday.MORE NEWS: Civil Rights Lawyer Ben Crump Joins Lawsuit Against Baltimore City Public Schools
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