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Ageless Jagr continues to amaze as Devils beat Caps in OT

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- New Jersey Devils right wing Jaromir Jagr doesn't look like a man twice the age of some of his opponents.

The 41-year-old veteran recorded a goal and two assists to put himself among the NHL's greatest players while lifting the Devils to a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime victory against the Washington Capitals Saturday night at the Verizon Center.

"He amazes me every night I come to the rink," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said after watching defenseman Andy Greene swat Jagr's rebound out of the air and past Washington goaltender Braden Holtby for the game-winner 43 seconds into the extra period. "I don't have a lot more adjectives to describe him but he's a pleasure to work with."

The Devils rallied back from a pair of two-goal deficits to send the game into overtime, where Greene ended it quickly with his sixth goal of the season.

"I honestly can't remember the last overtime goal I scored," Greene said. "It feels great to do it and get a big win tonight."

Devils right winger Dainius Zubrus sent the game into overtime when he scored with 8:13 remaining in the third period. Marek Zidlicky provided the rest of the Devils' offense with two goals.

Jason Chimera, Mikhail Grabovski, Joel Ward and Alex Ovechkin scored goals for the Capitals.

The win was the Devils' third in their last four games and moved them within five points of the Capitals, who lost for the second time in three games.

"They are a relentless team," Capitals coach Adam Oates said of the Devils, where he served as an assistant coach for two seasons before becoming the Capitals head coach. "They kept coming. We made a couple mistakes."

The Capitals fell behind early on a power-play goal by Zidlicky, his first since Nov. 20, but built a 3-1 lead on second-period goals by Chimera, Grabovski and Ward.

The Capitals carried that lead into the third period, and that's when the track meet began.

Jagr cut the Capitals' lead to 3-2 with his 13th goal of the season, tapping a behind-the-net feed from defenseman Andy Greene into the open right side of the net. The goal was Jagr's 694th in his career. It was also Jagr's second point of the night and 1,720th of his career.

Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin was serving an interference penalty on Jagr's goal and he redeemed himself less than three minutes later with his league-leading 30th goal of the season in his 34th game.

Devils left winger Patrik Elias turned the puck over to Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner, who set up Ovechkin for a snap shot.

Just 74 seconds later, the Devils again drew within one goal when Zidlicky scored his second goal of the game, snapping a shot past Braden Holtby with 9:21 gone in the third period.

A clearing attempt by Holtby led to the Devils' game-tying goal with 8:13 remaining in regulation. The puck was intercepted by center Travis Zajac, whose shot toward the net was deflected by Zubrus and past Holtby for his eighth goal of the season.

"I thought we responded very well when we were down two goals," Jagr said. "It's a big win for us. We needed to get points to get back to the .500 mark."

Ward, who finished the night with a goal and an assist, was not happy with his line's defensive effort.

"We were on for three [goals]," he said. "Our line just dropped the ball, which is unacceptable."

NOTES: Capitals coach Adam Oates and Devils RWs Jaromir Jagr and Dainius Zubrus were teammates in Washington more than 10 years ago. Jagr, 41, entered the game with 693 goals, one behind Mark Messier for the seventh on the NHL's career list. Jagr also entered the game five points behind Mario Lemieux in career points with 1,718. "What Jagr's done is great, just great," Oates said. "I played with him here and it looks like he's reinvented himself a little bit. Good for him. He still loves the game." ... The Capitals entered the game with the NHL's second-ranked power play at 26.3 percent. C Nicklas Backtrom, the quarterback of that unit, entered the game leading the NHL in assists (33), power-play points (23) and power-play assists (21). ... The Devils were without C Andrei Loktionov (illness, day to day) and Damian Brunner (knee, four weeks). Caps defenseman Alex Urbom, who was claimed off waivers from the Devils, was a healthy scratch for the 10th straight game. ... The Capitals return to action on Monday night when they face former coach Bruce Boudreau and the Anaheim Ducks in Washington, followed by a three-day Christmas break. The Devils will visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday and return to action on Friday night at home against Columbus.
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