Bryce Salvador made his Devils debut, logging 20:27 of ice time in Friday's contest vs. Washington.
newjerseydevils.com (Feb. 29) – Try as they did, the Devils simply could not get one by Cristobal Huet.
Huet posted 18 saves in his Washington debut as the Capitals scored three times in the third period to hand the Devils a 4-0 loss at Prudential Center on Friday night.
New Jersey (37-22-6) suffered its eighth shutout of the season, and first on home ice since dropping a 1-0 decision to the Islanders on Nov. 16.
Vancouver's Roberto Luongo was the last goaltender to keep New Jersey scoreless, with a 5-0 win back on Dec. 18. The Devils, who were blanked seven times in their first 34 games, had gone 30 contests without getting shut out.
The Devils closed out February with just their third regulation loss of the month (9-3-3), and first in 10 games. The defeat snapped a nine-game streak in which the club had collected at least one point (7-0-2).
New Jersey maintains its one-point lead over Pittsburgh for first place in the Atlantic Division, and sees its cushion in the East trimmed to one. Montreal topped Buffalo to move into second place in the conference, a point ahead of idle Ottawa.
Martin Brodeur (35-20-5) stopped 25 of 29 Washington shots en route to his first regulation loss since Feb. 8. Brodeur fell into a tie for the wins lead with Evgeni Nabokov following San Jose's win in Detroit.
Head coach Brent Sutter's squad now heads for Montreal to take on the Canadiens on Saturday night. After playing 11 of 15 February contests in Newark, the Devils face eight of 13 on the road in March.
The first order of business for the Devils at the Bell Center will be to a revive an offense that has tallied three times in its last three games.
"We haven't scored very many goals the past few games because we're not playing with any intelligence," Sutter said. "When you're not involved like you need to be involved in games, that's what happens. We lost a lot of battles tonight, but you give full marks to Washington. They played very well, and we were on the other end of the scale."
After a scoreless opening period, Mike Green's power-play goal put the Caps ahead in the second.
With Andy Greene serving a tripping minor, Colin White strayed from the front of net to check recent Caps' acquisition Sergei Fedorov along the right boards. When Mike Mottau drifted from the slot to cover Alexander Semin, the Washington sniper fed a backdoor pass to a wide-open Green for a one-timer from the left circle at 11:27.
Green's 17th extended his league lead among defensemen and represented the first goal allowed by Devils penalty killers in four games. New Jersey had gone 12 straight kills without being scored upon.
Brodeur and Huet produced some of the best action of the second period.
Brodeur used a sweeping stick check to deny Alexander Ovechkin at 10:13, after the NHL goals leader collected a Nicklas Backstrom pass and sped toward the net. Ovechkin cut toward the slot from the left circle, and Brodeur knocked the puck off his stick before he could manage a shot.
Huet responded, stopping Zach Parise's breakaway attempt at 7:28, and flashed his catching glove on Dainius Zubrus' blast from the right circle with 1:22 remaining in the period.
Forty-three seconds into the third, Washington made it 2-0 on Viktor Kozlov's 13th of the season.
Backstrom crossed into Devils' territory and dropped for Ovechkin just inside the blue line. Ovechkin's cross-ice pass found Kozlov for a wrister that beat Brodeur from the left circle.
Patrik Elias' double-minor for high-sticking Green helped to put the Devils into an even deeper hole.
Semin cashed in with his 20th of the year, staking the Caps to a three-goal lead with 49 seconds left on Elias' four-minute penalty. Tom Poti put a cross-ice pass from the top of the right circle to Semin for a one-timer from the left faceoff dot at 8:59.
Enforcer Donald Brashear closed out the scoring in a third period that saw the Devils get outshot 13-2. Brashear netted his fourth of the season with a one-timer from the slot on a feed from Matt Bradley at 17:05.
NJD NOTES Bryce Salvador made his first Devils appearance since arriving from St. Louis in Tuesday's deal. Salvador began the night paired with Andy Greene and saw 20 shifts for 20:27 of total ice time, including one shift on the penalty kill.... Friday's scratches were Sheldon Brookbank, Karel Rachunek and Vitaly Vishnevski... The Leap Day game was the third in Devils' history, and first on home ice. New Jersey is 2-1 in Feb. 29 games, including a 3-1 win in 1992 on Long Island, and a 2-1 win in 2000 at Nashville.
1 - 0 WSH
2 - 0 WSH
3 - 0 WSH
4 - 0 WSH
Too many men/ice - bench
Delaying Game-Puck over glass
Hi stick - double minor