The Capitals beat the New York Islanders 4-1 Tuesday, becoming the last team in the NHL to win consecutive games this season.
“It wasn’t lost on us,” said Washington goalie Olaf Kolzig, who stopped 25 shots. “We’ve been awful for the first two months, but now we’re starting to turn it around a bit.”
The Capitals opened the season 1-7-1 and ranked 27th in the league with three goals allowed per game through Tuesday. They have allowed at least three goals in all but one of their losses this season.
However, Kolzig, who now has seven wins, said that his team is showing signs of improvement.
“I’ve gotten to the point where I’m just going to play hockey,” Kolzig said. “I’m not going to get wrapped up in any other things. And though it seems strange to say, everyone here is being selfish, but in a good way. I think we’re all doing the same thing—just playing our best and seeing what happens.”
The Capitals have won four of their last six road games.
The Devils lost 3-1 to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday, extending their winless streak to four games (0-2-2). They are 0-1-2 since ending a team record-tying 13-game unbeaten streak (10-0-3).
“It’s only a couple of loses in what, 16 games?” Devils captain Scott Stevens said. “I don’t know if we’re in a slump yet.”
Jay Pandolfo scored the only goal for New Jersey, which has scored just one goal in its last three games.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 2): Capitals - 18 points, 5th place, 56 PB, Southeast Division. Devils - 30 points, 2nd place, 41 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Robert Lang, 14 goals and 33 points; Sergei Gonchar, 22 assists; Jason Doig, 48 PIM. Devils - Patrik Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner, 7 goals; Brian Rafalski, 13 assists; Patrik Elias, 19 points; Turner Stevenson, 36 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 2): Capitals - Power play: 20.4 percent (23 for 113), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (90 for 109), 22nd. Devils - Power play: 15.6 percent (14 for 90), 15th (tied). Penalty killing: 89 percent (73 for 82), 1st.
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Devils, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: March 1; Devils, 2-1, OT. At East Rutherford, N.J., Stevens scored the game-winner at 2:54 of overtime, after Langenbrunner tied the game with 33 seconds left in regulation. Jeff Halpern scored Washington’s goal in the second period.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 5-9-1-0 on the road; Devils - 7-4-2-0 at home.