Rod Pelley's goal in the first period had the Devils within striking distance at 2-1.
For the first time this season, the Capitals got the best of the Devils.
Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom each had a goal and two assists for the Capitals, who topped the Devils, 4-1, Saturday in Washington.
The Devils fell behind 2-0 in the first period for the third time in four meetings with Washington, then cut the deficit in half on Rod Pelley's marker late in the frame. But Ovechkin set up Backstrom's goal in the second and Mike Green's tally in the third as the Devils' winning streak was halted at five games.
In his first start since setting a new NHL record for shutouts (104), Martin Brodeur turned away 36 of 40 shots. New Jersey allowed 40 or more shots for only the second time this season (44 allowed in 4-3SO W at Tampa Bay, Oct. 8).
Head coach Jacques Lemaire wanted to see his team sharper with the man advantage. New Jersey had the first four power plays of the night, but misfired against rookie netminder Michal Neuvirth, who made 29 saves for his third win of the season.
"You look at how the game went. I feel that our puck control wasn't as it used to be," Lemaire said. "Special teams, we had so many power plays and I think they got more chances than we did on our power play. For me, it determined the whole game. We get a goal on the power play at the start, it's a different game, then we start to believe we're fine."
The Devils (26-9-1) lost for the first time in four meetings with Washington (24-8-6), and closed out the season series, 3-1. With 54 points, the Capitals moved one ahead of New Jersey for the overall League lead.
Jersey's Team returns to Prudential Center to host Atlanta on Monday after having its road winning streak snapped at four games. The Devils have taken three in a row at home.
Washington grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first period, when Ovechkin notched his 25th of the season off Backstrom's faceoff win in the offensive zone. Ovechkin collected the puck and stepped toward the slot to beat Brodeur through traffic with his fourth goal in three games at 4:09.
The Devils caught a tough break to slip behind 2-0. Matt Bradley's wrist shot from the high slot redirected up off of Mike Mottau's stick, then tipped off of Brodeur's outstretched catching glove and into the net at 13:54.
Pelley scored from above the left circle for his second of the season, and second in three games, to trim the deficit to a goal at 17:18 of the first.
Backstrom's 15th was the only goal of the second, and restored Washington's two-goal lead. A strong shift by the Capitals ended with Ovechkin shoveling the puck to the end boards, where Alex Semin chipped it in front to an unguarded Backstrom.
Backstrom stickhandled before putting a backhand shot over Brodeur's catching glove at 9:52.
The Capitals took a three-goal lead 39 seconds into the third, when Ovechkin set up Green's eighth of the year. Ovechkin found Green breaking in from the right point for a shot that beat Brodeur's catching glove. The goal came eight seconds after the Devils had killed off Andy Greene's hooking minor assessed with 1:29 left in the second.
The Devils killed off 1:00 of a Washington 5-on-3 late in the second period. … Jamie Langenbrunner hit the left post just 1:24 into the first period, when the game was still scoreless. … Jay Pandolfo had a goal waved off early in the second period, when it was ruled he batted in Rob Niedermayer's pass with a high stick. Video review upheld the call on the ice. … The Devils fell to 4-7-0 when trailing after two periods, and lost for just the third time on the road this season (13-3-1).
1 - 0 WSH
2 - 0 WSH
2 - 1 WSH
3 - 1 WSH
4 - 1 WSH