Washington rallied late in regulation to force overtime, with Nic Dowd pulling the Capitals within a goal with 6:38 remaining and Conor Sheary tying it with 3:47 left.
“It was a tie game, so it’s nothing lost yet,’ Hischier said. “So it’s really important, especially in a packed house, everybody felt the energy from Washington. So it’s just really important to stay focused and understand that it’s not over yet and kind of play with the mindset that you just tied up the game. So that’s how I do it and I think everybody understood that.”
Yegor Sharangovich and Damon Severson scored in a 1:14 span of the first period for the Devils, and John Carlson connected for Washington with 47 seconds left in the period.
New Jersey Devils’ Nico Hischier, top left, celebrates with his teammates, from left to right, Jack Hughes, Ty Smith (24) and Nathan Bastian (14) after scoring the winning goal in overtime of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
Hischier gave New Jersey a 3-1 lead 22 seconds into the second period.
Mackenzie Blackwood made 27 saves for the Devils. Ilya Samsonov stopped 33 shots for the Capitals.
Washington played without forwards Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie because of non-COVID-19 illness.
“I don’t think we played well enough,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. “I’m not sure it has to do with getting the news that two guys were going to be scratched. It is hard to say that is the reason why we lost. I can tell you the reasons why we lost. Do we wish we had them? Yeah, but it was the hand that we were dealt today and we need to do a better job inside the game with that over to the side, we need to do a better job inside the game.”
Alain Nasreddine directed the Devils for the second straight game. Coach Lindy Ruff tested positive for COVID-19 before Friday’s game.
“You’re gaining confidence,” Nasreddine said. “We felt good about our game, to be honest. Even that third period, I thought we did a lot of good things and the guys were talking on the bench. You could feel the good energy even after the third goal and we took it to overtime and found a way to win.”
New Jersey won its third straight overall, beating Washington for the first time since Feb. 22, 2020.
“We were talking about that before the game, for sure,” Hischier said. “If you look at our games last year against them or even the game earlier in the season this year, we wanted to come out and beat them and I think you could see that from the beginning. And, yeah, it feels good we finally got them.”
NOTES: New Jersey D Dougie Hamilton was hit in the face with a puck in the first period and did not return. Nasreddine said Hamilton was being evaluated at the hospital. “When Dougie went down, it was tough to see,” Severson said. “He took a shot up high there. He took a puck off his jaw and took some stiches and wasn’t feeling so good after that one. You don’t ever want to see that stuff. … Backstrom has played just three games this season. … The Capitals sent F Aliaksei Protas to Hershey of the AHL.
Devils: Host Boston on Tuesday night.
Capitals: At St. Louis on Friday night.