Maybe the lockout was just what the Devils needed.

Three games into the season, they have three wins, as Ilya Kovachuk scored with 21 seconds left in overtime to lead the Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Capitals at Prudential Center.

After blowing a 2-0 lead when the Capitals scored twice in the final 7:15 of the third period, the Devils had a chance to end the game early in overtime when they peppered Capitals' goalie Michal Neuvirth with five shots on a power play but were unable to score. But at 4:39 of overtime, Kovalchuk scored his second of the season from an almost-impossible angle on the red line, roofing the winner over Neuvirth's shoulder.

"I knew he was going to [protect] low," Kovalchuk said. "Then when he slid, I just needed to get it up. I hoped he was real tired."

The Devils opened the scoring when Jacob Josefson split the Capitals' defense and passed to Stephen Gionta, who beat Neuvirth at 13:55 of the first period. Patrik Elias added a power-play goal late in the second while on a lengthy 5-on-3, which gave the Devils the two-goal lead, but the penalties were almost their undoing, as they were shorthanded eight times.