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Friday, January 25, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Devils 3, Caps 2 (OT)

By Katie Strang

At a glance: Despite a late-game comeback from the Capitals and a stellar night by goaltender Michal Neuvirth, the Devils knocked off Washington 3-2 in overtime on Ilya Kovalchuk's game winner to improve to 3-0-0. Meanwhile, former Devils assistant Adam Oates' return to New Jersey was spoiled as the hapless Capitals sunk to 0-3-1.

Tie game: Capitals defenseman Mike Green single-handedly earned his team their first point of the season with his game-tying goal in the third. Green's point shot got past Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur to knot the game at 2 with 2:56 to play. Had the Capitals not pushed the game to overtime, they'd have been the lone team in the league without a point this season.

Cashing in: With a two-man advantage late in the second period, alternate captain Patrik Elias gave the Devils a 2-0 lead. With two Caps in the box and the Devils on the 5-on-3, Elias pounced on a rebound from Marek Zidlicky’s shot for a power-play goal, his first of the season.

Answer back: Trailing 2-0, the Capitals answered back with their own 5-on-3 goal in the third period. A textbook passing play led to an easy one for Mike Ribeiro, who cut the Devils' lead in half, 2-1, at 12:45.

End of experiment: After spending the first three games playing right wing -- and managing only one assist during that span -- the Capitals abandoned their Alex Ovechkin experiment and moved him back to the left side. It was a strange switch, however, as Oates placed him on a line with grinders Jay Beagle and Joey Crabb to start the game. Ovechkin eventually shuffled to play with Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer by the second period.

Sweet shot: Stephen Gionta, the Devils' Cinderella story of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, opened scoring in the first period with his first goal of the season, at 13:55. Center Jacob Josefson picked up an assist on Gionta’s goal after making a slick move to split two Caps defenders and set up the play.

Controlling play: Before the game, Devils coach Pete DeBoer said he wanted to see his team dictate play. They did that in the second period, rattling off 10 unanswered shots on goal in the last 4:47 of play. The Capitals, who spent a good chunk of the frame in the penalty box, did not manage a shot for the last 7:25 of play.

Devils debut: Replacing fellow tough guy Cam Janssen in the lineup, veteran forward Krys Barch played in his first game since signing with the Devils this summer.

Up Next: Devils at Canadiens, Sunday at 6 p.m.