NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Sharp in Europe, the New Jersey Devils played equally well at home.
Kyle Palmieri scored twice, Keith Kinkaid made 21 saves and the Devils came back from a season-opening win in Sweden by routing the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals 6-0 Thursday night in their first game at a packed Prudential Center.
Marcus Johansson, Blake Coleman, Jean-Sebastien Dea and Brian Boyle also scored. In their previous game, the Devils beat Edmonton 5-2 overseas last weekend
“We continued the way we played in Sweden and were on top of them early,” Palmieri said. “I think all four lines, the defense, and Keith, all had a great game.”
No disputing that, considering the Devils’ past woes against the Capitals. Washington was 14-1-2 in the previous 17 meetings.
The Devils’ defense did an outstanding job stifling the Capitals, who had scored 18 goals in the first three games.
Now it’s the Devils who have turned into an early-season juggernaut with 11 goals in two games.
“We’re not taking too many risks and it’s about possessing the puck and making high percentage plays,” Palmieri said. “We’re fortunate enough that the pucks are ending up in the back of the net.”
New Jersey also was able to keep the high-octane Capitals in check.
“They have so much firepower,” Taylor Hall said. “They had a lot of Grade A chances and Keith came up big. There are still some things to work on, but overall, anytime you can shut a team like that out, especially on the power play, you’re going to win a game.”
Pheonix Copley stopped 30 shots in his Capitals’ debut. He made some big stops early and didn’t have a lot of defensive support.
“There were some good things and obviously some bad,” Copley said. “I can watch a video and learn from what happened.”
Palmieri scored twice in the first period to stake the Devils to a 2-0 lead. The Devils had the better jump at the start, outshooting the Capitals 13-6 over the first 20 minutes.
Washington, playing back-to-back after an emotional 5-2 win over Vegas on Wednesday in a rematch of the Stanley Cup final, started a step slow and New Jersey capitalized.
“It felt like they had six or seven guys out there,” Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “They were skating on ice. We were skating through mud. Give them some credit because they played really well, and we were not very good.”
Palmieri put the Devils on the board at 7:02 on a shot that glanced off his skate in a goalmouth scramble.His second goal was a power-play drive from the top of the right circle at 18:33.
That gave Palmieri four goals in his first four periods of the season. It was also the 16th time he has scored at least two goals in a game.
Hopes for a Washington rally in the second were quickly dashed when Johansson scored against his former team 2:54 into the period. His shot from the blue line found the net behind a badly screened Copley.
Copley kept the Caps in the contest early in the third, stopping Taylor Hall on a short-handed breakaway.
Coleman put the game out of reach at 4-0 when he beat Copley to the short side from a sharp angle at 5:49. Dea added an insurance tally at 11:35 while Boyle scored with 5:15 left, giving each member of the Devils fourth line a third-period goal.
The remaining drama centered on Kinkaid’s bid for a fifth career shutout. He made an outstanding stop on Jakub Vrana, stretching out to make a pad save midway through the period.
NOTES: This was the first of four straight home games for New Jersey. … Kinkaid will carry the goaltending load as Cory Schneider continues his recovery from offseason hip surgery. Schneider has resumed skating with the team. … Hall was greeted by “MVP” chants as last year’s Hart Trophy winner was introduced to the crowd. … New Jersey scratched defensemen Eric Gryba, Steve Santini and RW Drew Stafford. The Washington scratches were C Jayson Magna, D Madison Bowey, RW Tom Wilson and LW Nathan Walker.