Zajac puts a Parise pass just wide of the post in Tuesday's action.
newjerseydevils.com – Another goal from Jamie Langenbrunner seemed to have the Devils poised for yet another stirring rally.
But after falling behind on home ice for the second straight contest, New Jersey's comeback bid came up short in a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals Tuesday in Newark.
Washington struck for two power-play goals in the first eight minutes of the game then opened up a 3-0 lead on the first of Michael Nylander's two goals.
Brian Rolston scored on the power play to put the Devils on the board nine minutes into the second period, and Langenbrunner's shorthanded goal 41 seconds into the third brought the Devils back within one.
Nylander converted on a power play midway through the third to make it 4-2 and put the game out of reach.
The decisive fourth goal came after Mike Rupp was chopped down by a Capitals' defender while driving the puck to the net. Rupp was whistled for goaltender interference after making contact with Jose Theodore.
"No question on the video it shows he was tripped up on the play," head coach Brent Sutter said. "He's driving to the net and a guy trips him. How do you stop? Not every time a goalie gets touched does it mean there is a penalty. Sometimes there are circumstances leading into that to make it happen. It clearly shows he was tripped on the play."
It wasn't the call Rupp was expecting either.
"If I have that play 10 times, I'm going to do the same thing 10 times," Rupp said. "Obviously I'm disappointed in the call, I'm surprised by the call, but what are you going to do? I was taking it hard to the net; I'm not going to be leaving my feet on purpose. I don't know what exactly [the referee] saw."
Scott Clemmensen made his seventh straight start and saw his personal winning streak halted at seven games. He allowed four goals on 25 Washington shots.
The Devils (32-16-3, 67 pts) saw their season-high winning streak snapped at eight and slipped three points behind Washington for second place in the Eastern Conference. Jersey's Team holds a four-point lead over the Rangers for first place in the Atlantic Division and will be back in action Friday at Atlanta before hosting Los Angeles on Saturday.
Langenbrunner will look to extend his goal streak to a fifth straight contest after picking up his seventh in the last four games. The Devils' captain saw some positives in his team's effort Tuesday despite the outcome.
"It's disappointing," said Langenbrunner, who has 15 goals. "You're not going to win every night, but I think we're liking the effort we're putting in every night. For whatever reason, tonight we weren't as sharp."
A penalty on the Devils for too many men proved costly when Mike Green scored his 16th of the season. Green, the NHL's leading point-getter among defenseman, collected Alexander Semin's backdoor pass at the right circle and fired a wrister over Clemmensen's glove at 5:58.
New Jersey was shorthanded again four minutes later when Langenbrunner was called for a hook behind the Washington cage. Nylander won the ensuing draw back to Green, who fed Alexander Ovechkin at the right circle. Last year's NHL MVP found Brooks Laich in front of the net for the easy tap-in at 8:12.
The Devils benefitted from a couple of posts late in the first. Green caught iron on a slapper with 1:11 left, and Eric Fehr's wrister stayed out with 21 seconds remaining.
Washington went ahead 3-0 in the second, when Clemmensen mishandled Fehr's rebound, and Boyd Gordon shoveled the puck to the front of the net. Nylander put his sixth of the season into the open side at 2:16.
The Devils were on a two-man advantage when Rolston blasted his ninth of the season past Theodore from the high slot at 8:50. Patrik Elias got the primary assist for career point No. 685 and moved within 16 points of John MacLean's franchise record.
Zach Parise's assist extended his scoring streak to seven games (4g-5a).
David Clarkson's hooking minor carried 1:30 into the third. Langenbrunner potted his second shorthanded goal in three games to make the score 3-2 just 41 seconds into the frame.
Travis Zajac picked up his seventh assist in four games by finding Langenbrunner in the neutral zone. Langenbrunner got a step on Green and snapped the puck top-shelf. Zajac has assisted on six of Langenbrunner's last seven tallies.
"Great play by Travis there, and I had a good angle on the defenseman and was able to get it up over [Theodore's] blocker," Langenbrunner said.
After using late rallies for back-to-back overtime victories Thursday against Boston and Friday against Pittsburgh, the Devils looked like they might pull off another shocker. But Nylander's wrister from the right dot at 10:59 beat Clemmensen with 10 seconds left on Rupp's penalty.
"I think we were getting a little bit of momentum there, and then the tough call on Rupper," said the captain. "He was going to the net hard, and that's a tough play. Our PK didn't do the job tonight and they made us pay for the penalty kill."
Fehr added an empty-netter with 1:10 left in regulation.
The Devils closed with a split (2-2) in their season series with the Caps.
NJD NOTES The Devils acquired the rights to center David McIntyre from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenseman Sheldon Brookbank on Tuesday.
McIntyre, who turns 22 Wednesday, has 13 goals and 17 assists for 30 points and 42 penalty minutes in 26 games with Colgate (ECAC) this season. The 6-0, 185-lb. forward is in his third season with the Red Raiders where he has career totals of 37 goals and 42 assists for 79 points and 155 penalty minutes in 105 games. The native of Oakville, Ont. was Dallas’ fourth choice, and 138th overall selection in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
Brookbank was in his second season with the Devils and appeared in 15 games this season with 25 penalty minutes. He was claimed on waivers by New Jersey from Columbus on October 2, 2007.
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