NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 23: Goalie Michal Neuvirth #30 of the Washington Capitals makes a save behind Adam Henrique #14 of the New Jersey Devils during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Prudential Center on December 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Capitals Vs. Devils: Washington's Holiday-Spirited Comeback Falls Short In 4-3 Shootout Loss

Down 3-0 entering the third period, the Caps clawed back, but fell short in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Devils Friday.

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Capitals Vs. Devils: Washington's Holiday-Spirited Comeback Falls Short In 4-3 Shootout Loss

The Washington Capitals entered Friday's game with the New Jersey Devils looking for a gift before the two-day Christmas hiatus. Jason Chimera did his best Santa Claus impression by delivering some late-game cheer, but the Caps left with a lump of New Jersey goals.

Down 3-0 entering the third period, the Caps came back to tie the game late, but ultimately fell short in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Devils Friday.

Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Urbom and Adam Henrique scored in the second period to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead and it looked as if Washington would once again fall in blowout fashion. Yet, Jason Chimera's 12th and team-leading 13th goals of the season came just in the (Saint) nick of time.

After Brooks Laich finished a tic-tac-toe passing sequence with Dennis Wideman and Alex Ovechkin to cut the Devils' lead to 3-1 at 3:48, Chimera's stuff attempt beat Martin Brodeur (22 saves) at 12:44, as did his tip-in off a no-look pass from Laich with 1:42 left.

After a scoreless overtime, the Caps did not score in the shootout, while Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias put the game away for the Devils.

The Caps have two days off for the holiday, but return to action Monday against the Buffalo Sabres.


Capitals Vs. Devils: Gates Of Hell Open As Devils Hold 3-0 Lead Over Caps

Ilya Kovalchuk missed the first two meetings between the Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils. The Caps wish he missed this one, too.

Kovalchuk's goal and assist have led the Devils to a 3-0 lead over the Caps after 40 minutes.

Right before his goal, Kovalchuk had two great opportunities that Michal Neuvirth stopped, but the third time was the charm. Kovalchuk's shot from the point trickled through Neuvirth's five-hole and into the back of the net for his 11th goal of the season at 2:20.

Later, Kovalchuk started the play that gave the Devils a 2-0 lead at 4:57. Kovalchuk corralled the puck along the boards and drew two defenders, but was able to get the puck to Travis Zajac. The blown defensive assignment left Alex Ovechkin alone in the slot to defend and his sliding block attempt did not work as Zajac passed to Alexander Urbom. Urbom then took his time to pull Neuvirth out of position before firing a wrist shot into the open net for his first goal of the season.

Adam Henrique joined in on the Devils' fun at 10:08 with a tip-in goal off Matt Taormina's shot.

The Caps had some chances of their own; they hit the post three times in the second period, but only had seven shots on goal.


Capitals Vs. Devils: Michal Neuvirth Makes Nine Big Saves As Caps, Devils Scoreless

Two days before Christmas, the Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils haven't scored any presents yet. Or goals.

The Caps and Devils are scoreless after 20 minutes at Prudential Center.

The Devils outshot the Caps 9-6 in the first period and Michal Neuvirth stopped all nine of them as he single-handedly kept his team in the game. None of Washington's six shots came on its two power play opportunities; the Devils have allowed only two power play goals at home this season. New Jersey has the league's best penalty-killing unit with a 92.6% success rate entering the game.

The Caps, meanwhile, killed off a penalty of their own when Alexander Semin interfered with Mattias Tedenby early in the period. It was Semin's team-leading 20th minor penalty of the season.


Capitals Vs. Devils: Washington Hopes For Merry Christmas Against New Jersey

The Washington Capitals have had a roller coaster ride of a season thus far. A two-day break for Christmas seems like the proper respite, but to get there, they will have to get past the New Jersey Devils Friday at Prudential Center.

A 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators Tuesday has Washington sitting at 17-14-1, 10th in the Eastern Conference and two points out of eighth place, which is inhabited by its opponent Friday: New Jersey. A Washington win would tie it with New Jersey for eighth heading into Christmas.

Michal Neuvirth will start for the Caps Friday; it will be his fourth consecutive start. Meanwhile, Tomas Vokoun will back Neuvirth up, making Friday the first time in over two and a half years that Vokoun has sat out of four straight games while presumably healthy. Neuvirth has dominated the Devils during his career; he has a 4-0-1 record with a 1.18 GAA, .960 SV% and one shutout in five career games against New Jersey.

Opposing Neuvirth will be Martin Brodeur. For the Devils, Patrik Elias will return to the lineup after a one-game hiatus due to the flu.

The Caps earned a 3-1 win at Prudential Center November 11, while the Devils earned a split of the home-and-home series with a 3-2 shootout win November 12 at Verizon Center. New Jersey's seven home wins are third-fewest in the East, but no team has fewer points on the road than Washington (12).


Capitals Vs. Devils: Michal Neuvirth To Earn Fourth Straight Start, Alex Ovechkin Skates On Second Line

Michal Neuvirth will earn his fourth straight start Friday against the New Jersey Devils, according to head coach Dale Hunter.

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