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“I think tonight was an example of we did [work]. And it was great to see,” Oates said. “The first question was, we haven’t played for 60 minutes. Well, we did tonight. It was a lot of growing pains, if you will, but the guys did their job. You obviously want the win, but we did a lot of good things.”

The forecheck was stronger, even if discipline was still an issue and the power play was 1-for-8. Much is left to improve on, but Friday night illustrated progress.

“You’ve just got to play. You’ve got to play like you did tonight every night,” Oates said. “That’s what they got to learn, and they did it tonight so good for them.”

Neuvirth might have games the rest of the season better than Friday night. He criticized himself on the Devils‘ first goal, saying he tried to remain patient.

But Neuvirth did enough to steal a point that the Caps desperately needed.

“Hats off to Neuvy, he played an outstanding game today,” right wing Joel Ward said. “It’s not easy when you’re facing those guys, especially multiple power plays and you have Kovalchuk shooting like that. Good for him. It’s a good confidence booster for sure. If he keeps rolling, that’d be great.”