EditorsNote: Adds playoff opponents
Alex Ovechkin scored two goals, including the game-winner in the third period, as the Washington Capitals defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-3 in the regular-season finale for both clubs Saturday night in Washington.
Both teams already had clinched their respective spots in the playoffs. Washington won the Metropolitan Division and finished with a 49-26-7 record and 105 points. The Caps will face the Columbus Blue Jackets in the playoffs.
New Jersey ended up with a 44-29-9 mark and 97 points. The Devils had won four straight but won’t know who they play in the playoffs — the Boston Bruins or Tampa Bay Lightning — until after the Bruins and Florida Panthers play Sunday.
Ovechkin needed three goals to reach 50 this season but finished with 49, first in the NHL by five over Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine.
His second goal, where he intercepted a failed clearing pass and quickly scored from the right circle with 14:49 left in the game, gave Washington the lead for good at 4-3.
Goalie Braden Holtby finished with 23 saves for the Caps in the win, even though they rested some players.
New Jersey also sat down some guys, including Taylor Hall, who needed one goal to reach 40.
Ovechkin gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead when he fired in a one-timer off an Evgeny Kuznetsov cross-ice pass 2:21 into the game.
Nico Hischier tied the game when he scored from in front at the 8:10 mark.
But the Capitals took the lead in the final minute of the first period when Nicklas Backstrom (one goal, one assist) scored from between the circles.
Washington made it 3-1 on a Michal Kempny (one goal, one assist) slap shot early in the second period. Rookie Shane Gersich got his first NHL point on the play.
Miles Wood (one goal, one assist) cut the lead to 3-2 on his goal with 53 seconds left in the second period before Patrick Maroon (one goal, two assists) tied it early in the third period.
Ovechkin then got his tiebreaker, and Andre Burakovsky added another goal for the 5-3 final.
NHL.com reported that the Capitals won’t decide about coach Barry Trotz and defenseman John Carlson, both of whom have contracts that are up, until after the playoffs end.
—Field Level Media