NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Johan Hedberg made the key saves and New Jersey finally scored some goals.
That combination brightened the mood of the struggling Devils following a 5-0 win Monday that stunned the NHL-leading Washington Capitals.
Hedberg stopped 30 shots for his 15th career shutout, Jason Arnott scored twice while rookie Mattias Tedenby and Patrik Elias each had a goal and an assist for the Devils, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Hedberg, playing in his 300th game, got the start as Martin Brodeur is expected to miss one to two weeks with a bruised elbow.
“It felt very good,” Hedberg said. “We needed the win badly. The way we played tonight, we deserved it. We got the crucial first goal and from there on, we played really solid.”
Dainius Zubrus also scored for the Devils, who won for only the second time at home (2-5-2).
While relieved to see some goals finally go in, the Devils took greater satisfaction in shutting down Alex Ovechkin and the high-powered Capitals.
“The shutout was the most important thing tonight, keeping one of the best offensive lines off the scoreboard,” Arnott said. “We’ve been lacking that this year. Our defensive play hasn’t been very solid. We have to build on tonight. It’s a confidence booster.”
Now it’s the Capitals who are sliding, losers of three straight while giving up 14 goals in that span.
“Our defense, our all-around game was horrible tonight,” Capitals defenseman John Erskine said. “It’s kind of a gut check for us.”
Tedenby had a goal and an assist as the Devils jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period.
Elias got the opening tally on the power play at 5:49 of the first, deflecting Tedenby’s shot with the shaft of his stick.
Arnott scored an easy wraparound goal at 16:15 as Capitals goalie Braden Holtby got tangled up Tyler Sloan, his own defenseman. Arnott circled behind the net to put the puck into the wide-open net before Holtby could recover.
Tedenby scored on a penalty shot with 1:46 remaining to close out the scoring in the period. After being fouled on a breakaway by Erskine, Tedenby slipped a backhand past Holtby for his third goal in six games.
“I honestly didn’t feel terrible,” Holtby said. “The first period just didn’t go our way. Two inches either way on the first and third goal could have made a difference. I wanted to come out and have a strong performance, which I don’t think I did.”
The three goals in the period equaled the Devils’ total offensive output in the previous three games.
And New Jersey wasn’t done.
In the second period, Arnott got his second of the game at 2:43, using his long reach to sweep a rebound past Holtby. Zubrus connected at 7:48 as the Devils extended the lead to 5-0.
Hedberg kept the shutout intact with a sparking glove save on Alexander Semin midway through.
“I liked that glove save,” Hedberg said. “That felt really good. That just gave me some confidence.”
Hedberg was sharp again in the third, stopping Ovechkin on consecutive bang-bang screen shots from the right circle.
“I’ve never been a guy who had a lot of shutouts, so it’s nice when I get one,” Hedberg said. “I think the guys showed that they really want to help me out, throwing themselves in front of pucks and diving in front of pucks to knock them out of the zone.”
Notes: The Devils presented a video tribute and a moment of silence for Pat Burns before the game. Burns, who died on Friday after a long bout with cancer, coached the Devils to the 2003 Stanley Cup championship. The team will wear memorial “PB” patches for four straight home games. The jerseys will then be signed by the players and auctioned off with the proceeds going to a cancer hospice in Burns’ memory. … Caps RW Mike Knuble missed a second straight game after taking a puck in the face. … The Devils recalled D Mark Frayne from Albany (AHL) on Monday. … Semyon Varlamov, recalled from Hershey (AHL) on Monday, was the Capitals’ backup goalie. … Semin and Ovechkin each had five shots to lead Washington.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)