Sure, it is just the preseason but the Caps continue to roll through the exhibition season, knocking off the Devils 3-2 at The Rock. Alex Ovechkin and David Steckel hooked up for a nifty shorthanded give-and-go 27 seconds into the third period. There was some debate about whether it was a pass or muffed shot by Steckel, but he told me afterwards the puck was in his skates and he had no chance to shoot it, so it was a pass all the way.
The Caps did appear to let up a bit in the final 12 minutes or so and the Devils made it close. Zach Parise stuffed home a rebound halfway through the period and then the puck took an awkward bounce off Petr Vrana in front of Jose Theodore and looped over his shoulder into the net with 1:52 left.
Other notes from the night:
*Bruce Boudreau said Viktor Kozlov is fine. He felt his groin tightening up, so the Caps gave him the quick hook.
*Eric Fehr said he was fine after Rod Pelley got him with what he felt was a blatant knee-on-knee hit. Fehr also wasn’t happy with either of the penalties called on him.
*Nicklas Backstrom said he made it through his first preseason action in good shape.
*Boudreau wasn’t too happy with the long shifts the Alexes were taking once they were paired together on the top line.
*Brent Johnson has stopped 33 of 34 shots in his two preseason games.
“It was a good summer full of hard work,” Johnson said. “I’ve just been feeling good lately. … I’ve been working a lot harder in practice, trying to stop everything and not take any shots off.”
Johnson also said he’s put what happened at the end of the year last season behind him, and even will crack the odd joke about the experience.
*Boudreau on Michael Nylander: “I think he’s a little bit on a mission himself. Here’s a guy who got  points two years ago and then he gets hurt and he misses the last half of the year and the team succeeds without him. He’s come in here and said, ‘I am a good hockey player. I am one of the elite guys in the NHL,’ and he was two years ago when we signed him.”
*Donald Brashear had a lengthy tilt with Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (say that three times fast) in the third period, which ended with both players standing, but he clearly felt he was the victor.