RICHMOND, SEPT. 28 -- The Washington Capitals are hoping that youth and the future have been served in the exhibition season, for it surely has not been used to build momentum going into the regular season.

The Capitals fell to the New Jersey Devils, 3-2, tonight in front of 6,189 at the Richmond Coliseum. The loss dropped the Capitals' exhibition record to 1-5-3.

"Of the quality chances between the two clubs, we had the majority, but didn't put them away," Capitals Coach Terry Murray said. "But the good thing was the young players did some things I was very pleased with."

The Devils have put together a line of Peter Stastny, John MacLean and Kirk Muller. That lively crew has combined for 10 goals and 16 assists in exhibitions, which was enough to get tonight off.

The Capitals, likewise, did not use many of their regulars. Three players who will certainly start the season in Baltimore -- Victor Gervais, Tim Taylor and Reggie Savage -- played in their first exhibition.

Savage made a couple of nice passes, but it was Gervais who made his first game count the most. He scored the Capitals' second goal, tying the game at 2 in the second period. Steve Leach had Washington's first goal.

The Devils got goals from Paul Ysebaert, Myles O'Connor and Jarrod Sklade, who scored the game-winner with 7:31 left in the third period.

Chris Terreri was in goal for New Jersey, while Jim Hrivnak had probably his best game of the exhibition season for the Capitals.

The Capitals will play their last exhibition game -- and fourth in four nights -- Saturday against the Flyers at 7:30 at the Baltimore Arena.

Leach scored his first goal of the exhibition season in Thursday night's 2-2 tie with Philadelphia. That goal was not material for any highlight film. From deep in the circle to the left of Flyers goalie Ron Hextall, Leach flipped a pass toward the goalmouth that hit the arm of Flyers defenseman Gord Murphy and ricocheted into the net.

The move that produced tonight's goal was worth looking at again. Leach used a burst of speed to step around a Devil or two and then lifted a wrist shot over the shoulder of Terreri.

Just 2:52 remained in the first period when Leach scored, but the Devils erased the lead with just 28 seconds left before intermission. With Rob Murray in the penalty box, Ysebaert rerouted a pass from the right wing and Hrivnak could not react quickly enough.