NEWARK, NJ – Alex Ovechkin ranked second on the NHL’s all-time power play goals list and the Washington Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 5-4 on Sunday, completing a sweep of their season eight games series.
Ovechkin’s goal in the second period was his 265th with the extra man, tying him with Brett Hull for second place and putting him nine behind all-time league leader Dave Andreychuk (274).
The 35-year-old Russian, who also had two assists, has 19 goals this season and 725 in his career. He is six goals away from tying Marcel Dionne for fifth all-time in the NHL.
Like most of his personal marks, Ovechkin downplayed the importance of the goal.
“Go on,” he said. “It is what it is.”
Ilya Samsonov was one of the main reasons the Capitals finished the sweep, making 35 saves, including 29 in the first 40 minutes.
TJ Oshie, Conor Sheary, Carl Hagelin and Evgeny Kuznetsov also scored for Washington. The eight-game sweep was the first in team history against a single opponent.
Travis Zajac scored twice and Yegor Sharangovich and Jesper Bratt once for New Jersey, who were down 3-2 after two periods despite beating the Caps 31-12. Mackenzie Blackwood faced 19 shots.
After Zajac and Oshie scored in the first period, Sheary gave the Caps the lead at 3:21 of the second period with a shot that deflected from Devils defender Damon Severson’s jersey and crashed into the net. .
Ovechkin stretched the lead to two goals, nailing the rebound from Nicklas Backstrom’s shot that slid through Blackwood’s pads. The power play was organized when Dmitry Kulikov stopped Ovechkin in the face.
“He’s going to be a legend in the game,” Devils defender Ryan Murray said. “You know, it’s our job to shut him down. But of course you appreciate what he’s done throughout his career.”
Sharangovich put New Jersey 3-2 at the end of the second period, but Hagelin and Kuznetsov scored early in the third to stretch the margin to 5-2. Bratt and Zajac put the Devils within one goal with 4:07 to play. They never got close.
New Jersey fell short up front, as right wing Kyle Palmieri was left out for precautionary reasons. Stephen Bartlett, his agent, said on social media that the move was made in anticipation of a trade in the next few days or weeks. The deadline for exchanges is April 12.
Palmieri, 30, has scored at least 24 goals in each of his first five seasons with the Devils. The New Jersey and Palmieri field had been in discussions, on and off throughout the season, regarding a possible contract extension. He is considered one of the most attractive goal scorers in this commercial market and, as an unrestricted free agent this summer, he could well end up back in New Jersey with a different contract next season.
Associated Press contributed to this report.