Braden Holtby didn't let a shot get past him all game. Instead, he threw the hockey equivalent of a pick-six.
That was enough to give the New Jersey Devils a 1-0 win over the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
After nearly 50 minutes of stellar saves by two goalies, Holtby went to retrieve the puck behind the net and passed it straight to Mike Cammalleri, who read the play like a safety reads a quarterback. It would have looked like the perfect setup had the two been wearing the same color sweaters.
"That point in the game you have to pick the safe play," Holtby said. "And I didn't, and it cost us."
Cammalleri easily drove the one-timer from the right circle inside the far post with 10:22 remaining, giving the Devils the win.
"I just tried my best to get it off as quick as I could, so I could get it back on net," Cammalleri said. "Good thing I hit the net, or it would have been bad by me."
Cammalleri's seventh goal of the season stood up because of 30 saves from Corey Schneider, who got his first shutout of the season as the Devils won their second straight after a four-game skid. They also snapped the Capitals' winning four-game winning streak.
"That was a tough break for us," Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "There's nothing really to say. No one feels worse than Braden on that play. That's his strength, is handling the puck, and unfortunately it ended up in our net."
Until Holtby's miscue, he and Schneider had squeezed, kicked, sprawled and otherwise did every maneuver necessary to keep clean sheets. The teams combined to go 0 for 7 on power plays.
Holtby finished with 27 saves — stopping every shot except for one when he wasn't in the crease.
"I've had a few of those myself this year, so I can definitely feel for Holtby there," Schneider said. "But you've got to give Cammy credit, that wasn't an easy puck to one-time from a bad angle into a net."
Schneider is the only goalie to have started all of his team's games this season. It was his 13th career shutout, and the win offered a measure of revenge from the Devils' 6-2 loss to the Capitals on Oct. 10, when he was pulled in the third period.
New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer wouldn't say whether Schneider will finally get a rest on Saturday at home against Colorado.
"I'm just starting to play well now, so it doesn't seem like the right time to do that," Schneider said. "But I'm sure it's coming."
NOTES: Devils captain Bryce Salvador missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. New Jersey C Adam Henrique (lower body), LW Ryan Clowe (head) and D Jon Merrill (arm) also remain sidelined. ... Washington C Liam O'Brien is day to day because of a lower-body injury. ... The Capitals recalled RW Chris Brown from Hershey of the AHL.
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