Capitals dominate Devils in first road win of young season

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Caps dominate Devils in first road win of young season originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Capitals earned a well-played 4-1 victory over the Devils on Thursday night at Prudential Center to earn another victory in the early going of the 2021-22 season. They’re now 3-0-1 on the year. 

Here are a few takeaways from the team’s win: 

Caps keep dominance over Devils

The Capitals won all eight of their matchups against the Devils last season and continued that dominance Thursday with a 4-1 win. 

A year ago, the Capitals picked on the Devils like no other team (not even the Sabres) and took 16 of a possible 16 points. Though they’ll face the Devils just three more times to end the season, two out of a possible two isn’t a bad start.

Capitals continue point streak

Despite a pretty difficult start to the season, the Capitals have now earned at least a point in every one of their four games and are 3-0-1 to start the season. 

With the Flames, Senators, Red Wings and Coyotes (and only the Senators on the road) to close out October, the Capitals have a big opportunity to close the month with authority and set themselves up with a big start to the season.

Vanecek tallies another quality night

Vitek Vanecek has started three of the team’s four games this season and has allowed just four goals in those starts. He made 24 saves on 25 shots in the win over the Devils on Thursday. On the year, he’s stopped 69 of 73 shots for a save percentage of .945.  

Before the year, the Capitals knew there’d be a goaltending battle between Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov. Now, Vanecek is doing everything he can to be the team’s undisputed No. 1 option in net. 

With a game every other day to end the month, and no back-to-backs, there’s a chance Vanecek sees perhaps three games to further cement his strong start to the season. 

Orlov keeps foot on the Devils

If the Capitals love playing the Devils, there might not be anyone on the team that loves playing them more than Dmitry Orlov. 

Orlov scored the team’s second of the night early in the game on a nifty backhand play after a strong chance from Alex Ovechkin. That marks four goals in the last six games against the Devils for the talented defenseman. 

His goal gave the Capitals some early cushion against a depleted Devils squad, as they coasted to a win in New Jersey.

Kuznetsov keeps flying

There might not be a better example of the Capitals’ strong start to the season than Evgeny Kuznetsov

Kuznetsov now has eight points in four games, including three goals, after a two-point performance as the Capitals’ top-line center appears to have found his game after a rough season last year. 

There had been loads of criticism about Kuznetsov’s play, and general manager Brian MacLellan admitted the Capitals needed Kuznetsov at the top of his game to be the team they wanted to be. And through four games of the new season, he’s playing like the version of himself that helped the Capitals win their first Stanley Cup.