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Caps, Devils clash for two key points

(SportsNetwork.com) - Two of the teams involved in the Eastern Conference's logjam for a playoff spot square off on Saturday night when the Washington Capitals play host to the New Jersey Devils.

Both the Caps and Devils have 61 points on the season, putting them three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The 61 points is also three back of the Detroit Red Wings for eighth place in the East.

Washington is 4-2-1 in its last seven games and had to rally in the third period to best the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 on Thursday. The Capitals trailed by a goal heading into the frame, but Tom Wilson tied the contest 3:38 into the third and Alex Ovechkin's league-leading 40th goal of the campaign was the winner at the 7:46 mark.

Troy Brouwer added his second tally of the contest in the period to add insurance and Braden Holtby made 34 saves.

"We came out, we started winning battles and as a result we were holding the puck a little bit more -- creating some more opportunities," Brouwer said of Washington's strong third session. "Good defensive play, which led to some rushes offensively."

Ovechkin reached the 40-goal mark for the sixth time in his career and owns a 10-goal lead over Toronto's Phil Kessel for the most in the NHL.

Washington concludes a four-game homestand tonight before the league goes on break for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Caps forward Marcus Johansson found out on Friday he will be heading to Sochi, Russia to participate after getting selected to replace the injured Henrik Sedin on Team Sweden.

The Devils, meanwhile, look to record a point in a fifth consecutive game, having gone 2-0-2 over the last four. Each of their last four games have gone to overtime, including last night's 2-1 triumph over the Edmonton Oilers.

Rookie defenseman Jon Merrill scored his first career goal and it was the winner with 2:26 remaining in the bonus frame.

Michael Ryder set up the score, taking the puck away from a scrum along the right-wing boards then dishing between the circles for Merrill, who ripped a shot off the near pipe and in.

The 22-year-old Merrill had posted four assists in 30 NHL games this season before recording his first tally.

"You always dream about that kind of stuff when you're a little kid," Merrill said. "I'm sure my phone will have some texts, but I'll probably reach out to my father, first and foremost. It's good to get the first one. It's a huge win for the team, as well. That's most important."

Andrei Loktionov provided the other goal to back 19 saves from Cory Schneider for the Devils, who had failed to hold third-period leads in each of their previous three games.

Jaromir Jagr had an assist in the game, giving him 1,039 for his career. That puts him just one helper back of matching Marcel Dionne for ninth on the league's all-time list.

The Devils have won both of their earlier meetings with the Capitals this season and have taken eight of the previous 12 encounters overall.

New Jersey has won four of its last five in Washington.

02/08 10:48:22 ET

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Schedule

Sunday, April 20Full Scoreboard
Philadelphia «4Final | Box
NY Rangers2Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Series tied, 1-1.
Detroit01st Prd 9:16 | Box
Boston2@theRink | TV: NBC, TSN, RDS
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Detroit leads series, 1-0.
Tampa Bay 4/20 7:00 PM ET
Montreal NBC, TSN
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Montreal leads series, 2-0.
Los Angeles 4/20 10:00 PM ET
San Jose NBCSN, CBC, FSN-W
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. San Jose leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
Local
16th
NOR 6
DUR 2
 
1st
MIA 7
CHA 12
 
8th
CLE 6
TOR 4
 
7th
DET 2
ANA 1
 
8th
NYM 3
ATL 3
 
8th
MIA 1
SEA 2
 
7th
PIT 1
MIL 0
 
6th
WAS 0
STL 2
 
7th
TAM 0
NYY 1
 
5th
KAN 0
MIN 3
 
4th
CHC 0
CIN 0
 
3rd
TEX 0
CWS 0
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
4:10pm Today
LOS
ARI
4:10pm Today
COL
PHI
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
7:05pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
Final
SAN 90
DAL 85
 
1st
MIA 7
CHA 12
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
1st
BOS 2
DET 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
TAM
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
16th
NOR 6
DUR 2