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Kovalchuk's OT goal gives Devils win over Capitals

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Kovalchuk's OT goal gives Devils win over Capitals

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Ilya Kovalchuk scored 4:39 into overtime, and the New Jersey Devils won their third straight game to start the lockout-shortened season, 3-2 over the winless Washington Capitals on Friday night.

Kovalchuk took a pass from defenseman Marek Zidlicky low in the left circle and beat Michal Neuvirth, who was outstanding in overtime. Neuvirth made seven saves, most on a New Jersey power play.

Stephen Gionta and Patrik Elias scored for New Jersey, which is off to its first 3-0 start since the 2002-03 season, the last time the Devils won the Stanley Cup.

Mike Ribeiro and Mike Green scored for Washington in the final 7:15 of regulation to force overtime. The Capitals (0-3-1) became the last NHL team to earn a point this season.

Neuvirth finished with 32 saves, stopping five shots after Green was called for interference in the opening minute of overtime.

Ribeiro had Washington's only shot against Martin Brodeur in the extra session, but it was a good one in close. Brodeur, who was within 7:15 of his 121st career shutout, made the save with his shoulder. The puck just missed the upper corner of the net.

Washington was seemingly out of the game trailing 2-0 until the Devils took a couple of penalties in the final 10 minutes of regulation, The Capitals took advantage despite playing their second game in two nights.

Ribeiro cut the deficit in half with a slam-dunk goal from the edge of the crease with the Capitals enjoying a two-man advantage.

Green, who was stopped on a great chance from between the circles in the opening minute, tied it with 2:56 left in the third period. Zidlicky failed to get the puck out of his zone, and Green beat Brodeur trough a screen with a shot from the right point for his first goal of the season.

Brodeur appeared headed for his second straight shutout since April 2010, but it wasn't to be.

Under new coach Adam Oates, the Capitals are off to their worst start since dropping six straight in the 1993-94 season. Washington recovered then and made the playoffs before losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers in the second round.

The Devils didn't have a lot of chances against Neuvirth early, but made the most of the them.

Gionta gave the Devils the lead at 13:55 of the first period, just a second after an effective Capitals power play expired.

Defenseman Mark Fayne started the rush by poking the puck to Gionta at the blue line. He carried into center ice and made a cross-ice pass to Jacob Josefson. Before being sandwiched by defenseman Tomas Kundratek and Troy Brouwer, the Swede swept the puck to Gionta, who beat Neuvirth one-on-one for his second career regular-season goal.

Washington nearly tied the game on a power play with roughly eight minutes left in the second. Ovechkin, who was moved back to left wing from right wing before the game, was stopped on a blue-line blast. Brodeur then turned away a backhand rebound attempt by Joel Ward, who had the primary assist on Ribeiro's goal.

Elias stretched the Devils' lead to 2-0 with a minute left in the second period when New Jersey had a 5-on-3 advantage. A shot from the point by Zidlicky hit the skate of teammate David Clarkson in front, and Elias put the rebound into a wide-open net.

NOTES: Brodeur finished with 26 saves. ... The 3-0 start is the Devils' best since starting the 2002-03 season with the same record. They won the Stanley Cup that year.

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Alex Ovechkin critical of officiating Monday in Pittsburgh

Alex Ovechkin critical of officiating Monday in Pittsburgh

A couple of days have passed, but Alex Ovechkin is still miffed about the multiple missed calls in Monday’s 8-7 overtime loss in Pittsburgh.

Speaking after Wednesday’s practice in Arlington, the Caps’ captain specifically referenced two of them—Patric Hornqvist’s high hit on T.J. Oshie and Sidney Crosby’s blatant trip on him in overtime.

“If it’s there, it’s there,” Ovechkin said, asked about remaining composed when addressing referees. “Like even last game, how many calls they miss?” Before four-on-four, it was a straight headshot on Osh and no call.”

The Capitals were leading 3-0 when Hornqvist forearmed Oshie’s jaw in the corner, briefly sending the first line winger to the dressing room. Following the ensuing scrum, Hornqvist and Daniel Winnik were sent off for roughing, and the Penguins struck twice as the sides skated four-on-four.

“Just call it,” Ovechkin said. “You killed the game and killed our momentum.”

Ovechkin did not address reporters after the game and the Caps were off on Tuesday.

The referees at PPG Paints Arena were Frederick L’Ecuyer and Dan O’Halloran.

Ovechkin also did not like the non-call on Crosby, who used his stick and skate to trip him as he carried the puck with speed early in the extra session. Conor Sheary ended the game moments later.

“I would say it was a pretty bad situation out there,” Ovechkin said. “In overtime, the same. There was clear trip and no call, but everybody makes mistakes.”

He added: “It’s emotion moments. I think everybody get involved, everybody has emotions. Again, if it’s [a] 100-pecent call and nobody make a whistle or don’t make a call, of course everybody going to be mad and sad about it.”

Another missed call that had an impact on the game arrived early in the third period. As Karl Alzner went to play the puck along the boards in the Caps' offensive zone, Bryan Rust cross checked the defenseman, creating a turnover. Rust gathered the puck, passed it to Sheary, who then found Crosby, who sniped a shot past Philipp Grubauer to make it 7-5.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz said he did not discuss the missed calls with the league. He also said it was his team’s execution four-on-four—and not its mindset after the missed call on Oshie—that sparked the Penguins’ comeback.

“I think you would lose your mind if you worried about every call,” Trotz said. “For the most part, I stand behind the referees. I think our sport is extremely difficult [to officiate]. It can be very frustrating. It’s easy for coaches and fans and media to look at plays in slow motion—without trying to avoid behind hit by pucks and people—and staying out of everybody’s way and making calls. Once-in-a-while [calls] are going to be missed. And when they’re missed at times of opportunity for the opposition, you can get frustrated. But I don’t lose too much sleep over it because I know I can’t change it.”

Related: Trotz doesn't think loss to Pittsburgh will send Capitals into a slump

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Caps make special arrangements for T.J. Oshie's dad, who has Alzheimer's

Caps make special arrangements for T.J. Oshie's dad, who has Alzheimer's

With the annual dads trip coming up, the Capitals are making special arrangements for T.J. Oshie. The team is allowing both his biological father, Tim Oshie, and his father-in-law, Dave Cosgrove, to come along. 

Tim, whom Oshie calls "Coach," has been battling Alzheimer's disease since at least 2012, according to an in-depth ESPN story published in 2014. 

Then playing for the Blues, Oshie described the episodes of disorientation and forgetfulness that led to his father's diagnosis. He and his family have been open about his father's Alzheimer's in hopes of raising awareness and letting people know they're not alone. 

The father and son due also participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer's back in 2014. 

"We have nothing right now as far as getting rid of it. With all the medicines and all the doctors in the world, I think it's something that hopefully we'll be able to stop – and get rid of sooner than later," Oshie told ESPN. "So that's why we talk about it, that's why we're open about it. Maybe not soon enough for my dad or for me, if that happens to be the case eventually down the road, but hopefully for my kids and my grandkids."

With Tim needing assistance to accompany his son on the Capitals' road trip, his father-in-law will there to help. 

The Caps pride themselves on a family atmosphere, so it's no surprise that the team would welcome an extra dad with open arms. 

MORE CAPITALS: Caps looking to bounce back after loss to Penguins