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Capitals Postgame

Capitals Postgame: Downing The Devils; Should Kuzy Stick On Top Line?



Washington Capitals right wing Nicolas Aube-Kubel (96) celebrates with center Dylan Strome (17) after scoring against the New Jersey Devils during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

For the Washington Capitals, there’s just something special about playing at New Jersey’s Prudential Center.

Two weeks ago, the Capitals snapped a three-game skid by tallying six goals on the Devils’ home ice. After falling to the Panthers at home on Wednesday, the Capitals once again turned things around in the Garden State.

Three quick goals allowed the Capitals to charge ahead Friday night, but a strong defensive effort late allowed the Capitals to hold off the Devils and secure the 4-2 win.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Beck Malenstyn tallied two goals in quick succession during the first period, pushing the Capitals ahead early. A second-period score from Evgeny Kuznetsov added to the team’s advantage, but it wouldn’t take long for the Devils to swing back.

In the third period, Devils winger Timo Meier pushed the puck past Capitals goalie Charlie Lindgren for New Jersey’s first goal of the game. That was followed two minutes later by a Dawson Mercer score, which put the Devils within one.

Despite New Jersey’s continued pressure, the Devils could not find that last score. After pulling goalie Akira Schmid in the game’s final minutes, the decision backfired when Kuznetsov tallied an empty net goal and secured the Capitals’ win.


The Capitals were handed a gift by the Devils, who entered play Friday missing two of their more explosive players.

With leading-scorer Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier sidelined, the Devils could muster only two first-period shots — an offensive output that produced no positive results.

The Capitals, however, had much better luck. Their offensive approach resulted in 12 first-period shots, including two that made their way past Devils goalie Vitek Vanecek.

After Devils coach Lindy Ruff pulled Vanecek for Akira Schmid, Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov added the team’s third goal in the second period — each unanswered.

Ultimately, and with Hughes out of the picture, the lead was insurmountable for the Devils, resulting in the Capitals’ second win of the season in New Jersey.


The Capitals’ first two scores, which allowed them to build some quick distance between themselves and the Devils, came from some unlikely figures.

The first came off the stick of Nicolas Aube-Kubel, who the team promoted from the AHL early on Friday. He lined up at right wing next to Nic Dowd on the fourth line before besting Devils goalie Vitek Vanecek for the first score of the game.

The second came from Beck Malenstyn, who lined up on Dowd’s left. His goal, coming 15 seconds after Aube-Kubel’s, marked Malenstyn’s first goal and point of the season.

The two goals obviously built the Capitals’ early lead, one that the Devils struggled to chip away at throughout the remainder of the game.


Friday’s game marked the third time this season that a new center lined up on the Capitals’ top line. That would be Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Kuznetsov, who lined up on the second line in every other game this season, received the bump amid the day’s roster shuffling, forcing the hand of head coach Spencer Carbery. Kuznetsov’s promotion is especially interesting as it came after Carbery called him out for his play in Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Panthers.

The move paid off for the Capitals. Kuznetsov tallied the team’s third and fourth goals of the game — affirming the Capitals victory.



The Capitals end their road trip Saturday with a bout against the New York Islanders (5-4-3). Puck drop from UBS Arena on Long Island is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Jared Serre covers the Washington Capitals for Washington Hockey Now. He is a graduate of West Virginia University.