Capitals Beat Devils, Breaking Tie With Islanders for Division Lead

WASHINGTON — Braden Holtby stopped 25 shots, helping the Washington Capitals extended their winning streak to six games with an ugly 3-0 victory over the last-place Devils on Friday night.

The win moved the Capitals back into first place in the Metropolitan Division, breaking a tie with the Islanders.

Andre Burakovsky, Nicklas Backstrom and Lars Eller scored for Washington; it was Burakovsky’s third consecutive game with a goal. Holtby, starting for the fifth straight game, robbing Kyle Palmieri and making a handful of other important saves. With his 35th career shutout, Holtby tied Olie Kolzig for the most in franchise history.

“I thought we had some Grade A chances,” Devils Coach John Hynes said. “Unfortunately, the puck didn’t go in for us, but you can’t fault the effort.”

It was not the prettiest performance for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who won despite taking six minor penalties. The Capitals had just three shots to show for more than four minutes of power-play time in the first period and did not look crisp.

“We progressed and figured out a way,” defenseman John Carlson said. “They all count the same.”

The Devils, who lost their fifth in a row, sent out a patchwork lineup with many players who started the season in the minors. The rookie goalie Mackenzie Blackwood did his best to keep his team in the game, making 33 saves.

But he had little chance of stopping Burakovsky’s shot on the rush 2 minutes 40 seconds into the game, or Backstrom’s power-play tap-in in the third period. Eller sealed it with an empty-net goal with 58.4 seconds left.

The Devils went 0 for 6 on the power play and have not scored in their last 24 man-advantage situations. Palmieri returned after missing four games with a lower-body injury, and John Quenneville returned after missing four games with an upper-body injury. Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt did not make the trip after being injured on Tuesday.

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