WASHINGTON (AP)For the second time in three games since joining the New Jersey Devils, Timo Meier took a late penalty and watched from the box hoping for the best.
This time, it worked out OK for the Devils, who killed off the Washington Capitals power play in overtime. Then Meier made up for it by scoring the shootout winner to give New Jersey a 3-2 victory Thursday night to keep pace in the Metropolitan Division playoff race.
“Great by our PK to kill this off and give us a chance in a shootout,” Meier said. “Luckily I could finish the game off like that.”
Meier was one of the biggest prizes at the trade deadline, and it cost the Devils two first-round picks and four players to get him from the Sharks. He wasn’t a regular in shootouts in San Jose but was happy to get his chance and cash in when it mattered.
“I asked him if he’s a shootout guy,” forward Erik Haula said. “He’s like, ‘Yep.’”
Meier was in the box for Toronto’s game-winning goal Tuesday and said his trip of Tom Wilson with 45.8 seconds in OT was another dumb penalty. This one didn’t come back to haunt him.
Akira Schmid was a perfect 4 of 4 in the shootout after making 20 saves in regulation and overtime to pick up his seventh win in 10 starts this season.
“Huge performance by our goalie there to shut the door on all of their shootouts,” Meier said. “Schmid was great for us the whole game.”
Haula and Dawson Mercer scored 37 seconds apart in the second period for the Devils’ goals in regulation. They’ve won five of seven and trail the first-place Carolina Hurricanes by just four points with 18 games left in the regular season.
Washington has gone the other way, having lost nine of 12 around the team’s first trade deadline selloff in more than a decade.
Darcy Kuemper played well, making 38 saves in regulation and overtime, but fell to 0-6-2 in his career against New Jersey, the only NHL team he has not beaten.
“Against a team like that, if Darcy isn’t playing how he did tonight, it might have been a little bit worse,” Wilson said. “He was there exactly kind of when we needed him.”
Trevor van Riemsdyk and Dylan Strome scored for the banged-up Capitals, who were without injured defensemen Nick Jensen and Martin Fehervary for a third consecutive game. Their already slim playoff hopes are evaporating with each passing day, and they now trail archrival Pittsburgh by five points for the second and final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
“Got to find ways to win,” winger T.J. Oshie said.
NOTES: With Schmid, Meier, captain Nico Hischier and defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler, New Jersey became the first team in NHL history to have four Switzerland-born players take part in a game. The Devils were already the first to have four Swiss players dress in a game. … Devils coach Lindy Ruff expects Curtis Lazar to join the team in Montreal after dealing with visa issues since being acquired from Vancouver. … Former Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek, who backed up Schmid, received a nice ovation from fans when shown on video screens in his first game back in Washington since being traded to New Jersey.
Devils: Visit the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
Capitals: Visit the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno
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