Jack Hughes recorded his first career hat trick and Vitek Vanecek made 37 saves against his former team to lift the host New Jersey Devils to a 5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Saturday in Newark, N.J.
Captain Nico Hischier scored a power-play goal, Fabian Zetterlund also tallied and Dawson Mercer notched two assists to help the red-hot Devils post their 15th win in their last 16 games. New Jersey also snapped a six-game home losing skid to Washington and avenged a 6-3 loss to the Capitals on Oct. 24.
With a victory on Saturday, Lindy Ruff became the fifth NHL coach with 800 wins. He has 571 victories with the Buffalo Sabres (1997-2012), 165 with the Dallas Stars (2013-17) and 64 in two-plus seasons with the Devils.
Washington superstar captain Alex Ovechkin remained stuck on 791 career goals despite registering eight shots on net.
Defenseman John Carlson scored a power-play goal in the third period and Charlie Lindgren finished with 24 saves for the Capitals, who saw their two-game winning streak come to a halt.
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton wired a shot from the point that created a rebound for Hischier, who deposited the loose puck into the net to open the scoring at 9:04 of the first period.
Hischier's goal was his 10th of the season, briefly giving him the team lead before Hughes eclipsed him after scoring the next three goals of the game.
Hughes doubled the advantage at 5:59 of the second period after intercepting a pass by Washington's Lars Eller before skating in and tucking the puck past Lindgren.
Hughes gave Washington a 3-0 lead after his sharp-angle shot from along the goal line banked off Lindgren and into the net.
The former top overall pick secured the hat trick at 9:51 of the third after converting a 2-on-1 rush with Erik Haula.
Carlson's blast from above the circles put the Capitals on the scoreboard at 11:38 before Zetterlund capped the scoring just over three minutes later.
--Field Level Media