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Holtby makes 25 saves, Capitals beat Devils

(AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

By HARVEY VALENTINE

WASHINGTON (AP) Julien Brouillette broke a scoreless tie with his first NHL goal midway through the third period, Braden Holtby stopped 25 shots and the Washington Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 3-0 Saturday night in the teams' final game before the Olympic break.

Brouillette, playing his second NHL game, beat Cory Schneider on the short side with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle at the 10:50 mark.

Martin Erat scored an empty-netter with 1:47 left for his first goal of the season and Troy Brouwer added another - his 100th career goal - 36 seconds later. Nicklas Backstrom had two assists.

Schneider finished with 23 saves.

The win moves Washington to within one point of eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 63 points.

New Jersey is in the thick of the hunt with 61 points, and both teams will have 23 games remaining after the break.

The Capitals have won three of their last four and snapped a seven-game losing streak (0-6-1) against Metropolitan Division opponents.

New Jersey, playing the second of back-to-back games, has lost 5 of 7.

Five Capitals, including John Carlson (United States), Alex Ovechkin (Russia), Backstrom and Marcus Johansson (Sweden) and Erat (Czech Republic) are headed to Sochi.

From New Jersey, Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias and Marek Zidlicky will be joining the Czech Republic team, and Damien Brunner will play for Switzerland.

The Devils outshot the Capitals 11-6 in the first period as the teams failed to convert two power-play opportunities apiece.

Early in the second, New Jersey's Adam Henrique took a centering pass and wristed a shot past Holtby, but it banged off the left post.

Later in the period Schneider stopped Karl Alzner's wrister from close range and made two follow-up saves on Jay Beagle.

NOTES: The Capitals finished 0 for 4 on the power play and the Devils were 0 for 3. . New Jersey D Anton Volchenkov (lower body injury) missed his third straight game. . Washington D Mike Green (concussion) missed his fifth game and C Mikhail Grabovski (left ankle injury) missed his eighth. . New Jersey leads the season series 2-1.

Updated February 8, 2014

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