WASHINGTON (AP)—The Washington Capitals are slowly starting to look like last season’s team that posted the NHL’s best record.
Washington is enjoying a winning streak after snapping an eight-game losing streak with a victory at Ottawa on Sunday. Five players scored Tuesday and 12 earned points for the Capitals, who jumped back over Atlanta into first place in the Southeast Division.
The Capitals took command with three goals in a 6:31 span of the second period. Washington has eight goals in two games after the offense lacked punch during the losing streak.
“I think winning rejuvenates guys,” Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s a much happier locker room the last couple of games, so that’s good.”
The Devils (9-22-2), who have the second-worst record in the NHL, dropped their ninth straight road game and third overall.
Washington’s recent call-ups from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League all contributed. In addition to Gordon, Jay Beagle(notes) also scored his first goal this season, and Mathieu Perreault(notes) played another strong game.
“That’s what we were saying, a lot of Bears on board there,” Carlson said. “Any time you can play good and contribute, it’s really good.”
Gordon certainly enjoyed his first goal—even giving linemate Marcus Johansson(notes) a kiss on the cheek on the bench to the delight of the sold-out crowd. He later added an assist during the second-period spurt.
“It’s a weight off my shoulders,” Gordon said. “I came here wanting to contribute and show I could do it up here. I’ve had a couple of opportunities the last few games but finally got a nice one to squeak through on a great pass.”
Washington won at home for the first time since beating Carolina on Nov. 28.
The Capitals have been one of the NHL’s best home teams the past few seasons, but had dropped five straight in Washington.
The Capitals hope Johansson will become a play-maker, but the rookie center has only two other assists this season.
Beagle scored his second career goal—first this season—off a pass from David Steckel at 10:00.
“It’s not getting better,” Devils coach John MacLean said. “It’s frustrating. We had some opportunities. We did work hard, but we made some mistakes against a team that capitalizes on mistakes.”
NOTES: Eric Fehr(notes) missed the game for Washington to attend the funeral of his grandmother. … Ovechkin earned one assist. … Dainius Zubrus(notes) was originally credited with New Jersey’s goal, but it was changed to Elias. … Brodeur’s next game will be the 1,100th of his NHL career He finished with 23 saves.