NEWARK, N.J. — Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin combined for six points in their 900th game as Washington Capitals teammates, a 6-3 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Friday.
Backstrom, who also reached 900 points in his 923rd NHL regular-season game, scored at least four points for the first time this season and 23rd time in his NHL career for the Capitals (25-6-5).
“It’s great, actually,” Backstrom said of scoring his 900th point while reaching the games-played milestone with Ovechkin. “I mean, I wasn’t expecting that, but sometimes that happens. It’s fun being part of this organization for this long, and playing with such a great player like Alex … that’s very fortunate for me, so I just have to enjoy every moment.”
[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Devils highlights]
Ovechkin (goal, assist) and Backstrom (two goals, two assists) are the 21st set of NHL teammates to play at least 900 regular-season games together and the sixth among active players, according to NHL Stats.
“You’ve got Backstrom and Ovechkin playing 900 games together, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from them other than a performance like that from those two,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. “Obviously, Nick [with] 900 points and a four-point game, he was outstanding.”
Five Washington players scored, and 12 had at least one point, but Backstrom was the star of the night.
“I felt good. I’ve been feeling pretty good since coming back from injury,” said Backstrom, who has nine points (four goals, five assists) in five games since returning Dec. 9 after an eight-game absence because of an upper-body injury. “You just have to keep grinding, and sometimes it happens — nights like this.”
P.K. Subban had an assist, ending his 21-game point drought, and Kyle Palmieri scored for the third straight game for the Devils (11-18-5).
“There are definitely some positives, but some mistakes, too,” New Jersey coach Alain Nasreddine said. “Overall, the way we played, we could have been a lot more aggressive and tried to dictate the pace a little. It came back to bite us. We played on our heels a little bit and gave them a little too much respect.”
Backstrom made it 3-2 at 19:31 of the second period by tipping a Dmitry Orlov pass for his second goal of the game.
Backstrom also scored at 19:35 of the first period to make it 2-1.
Palmieri gave New Jersey a 1-0 lead at 4:00 of the first on the power play, redirecting the puck past Ilya Samsonov (24 saves). Subban had the secondary assist for his first point since Nov. 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes, and his first power-play point of the season.
Ovechkin tied it 1-1 at 18:25 of the first with a wrist shot from just above the right face-off circle.
Blake Coleman tied it 2-2 for the Devils at 4:15 of the second.
After Backstrom’s second goal put the Capitals up by one, John Carlson extended the Washington lead to 4-2 at 42 seconds of the third period by batting the puck out of the air and bouncing it inside the left post.
Jonas Siegenthaler made it 5-2 at 6:53 of the third.
Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood (21 saves on 26 shots) was pulled at 8:25 and replaced by Gilles Senn, who made two saves and played 11:35 in his NHL debut.
“That’s a Stanley Cup team,” New Jersey forward Miles Wood said of Washington, which won the Cup in 2018. “They certainly played like it. We pushed back certainly, in some parts, but we didn’t do it for the full three periods. That’s what cost us.”
Richard Panik extended the lead to 6-2 at 15:33.
Wood scored on a redirection with 23 seconds remaining for the 6-3 final.
They said it
“We’re never satisfied losing games. So it’s always good that we bounce back right away and get points because I feel like this is what it’s all about. I mean, getting points before the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs start.” — Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom on bouncing back from a 3-0 loss at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday
“You never want to lose your first game. [In] the end, I can’t be happy giving up a goal in just like 10 minutes. I’m just happy I got my first [action]. It’s bigger now than letting my first goal in.” — Devils goalie Gilles Senn on his NHL debut
Need to know
Backstrom has 239 goals and 661 assists. … The Devils, who won their previous two games, have not won three straight this season. … Capitals forward Carl Hagelin, held by New Jersey defenseman Sami Vatanen on a breakaway, missed the subsequent penalty shot at 6:09 of the first. … With 680 goals, Ovechkin is four behind Teemu Selanne for 11th on the NHL goals list. … New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene played in his 900th NHL game, and forward Travis Zajac played in his 956th NHL game, all with the Devils, moving into a tie with defenseman Scott Stevens for the third-most in New Jersey history. … Alex Delvecchio and Gordie Howe hold the NHL record with 1,353 games as teammates with the Detroit Red Wings from 1951-71. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook lead active players with 1,069 games as teammates with the Chicago Blackhawks since 2005.
Capitals: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSWA, SUN, NHL.TV)
Devils: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, MSG+, NHL.TV)