Game 17 – New Jersey Devils at Washington Capitals
Game Time: 7:00 PM
Radio: WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM
The New Jersey Devils have been in the NHL since 1982, but this week they will do something they’ve never done in team history: travel out of town to play the same opponent twice. In the 2005-06 season, the Devils hosted the Flyers in consecutive games, but they’ve never done it on the road in the regular season. Thursday night the New Jersey Devils (9-3-4) will play the first of two consecutive games in our nation’s capital against the Washington Capitals (5-9-1). The Devils will look to get out of a bit of a funk they’ve found themselves in, going 1-2-1 in their past 4 games, while the Capitals will look to continue their hot streak, winning 3 of their last 4. The Devils escaped with 2 points in the teams’ last meeting, winning 3-2 in OT in New Jersey.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils are coming off of a painful overtime loss against the Ottawa Senators on Monday afternoon. The team jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but wasn’t able to generate much offense after that and lost 2-1 in a shootout after giving the Senators one too many chances in front of Marty. If it hadn’t been for the first-ballot-Hall-of-Famer, that game would’ve been lost a lot earlier than the 65th minute. On top of that, Ryan Carter was injured in a collision and won’t travel with the team to Washington this week, with rookie Stefan Matteau taking his place. The Devils defense has given up 14 goals in the past 4 games, while the offense has only scored 9. The Devils will look to improve both of these in the trip to Washington.
The Washington Capitals are finally starting to turn their season around. After starting the season 2-7-1, the Capitals are starting to put some wins together, even getting a 3-game winning streak before losing 2-1 to the New York Rangers. Braden Holtby (4-5-0, 3.68 GAA, 0.888 Sv%) has been Washington’s go-to goalie as of late, but don’t let his season stats fool you. Holtby has been hot as of late, winning 3 of his last 5 starts, including a shutout against the Florida Panthers. Mike Ribeiro (5G-13A) holds the team lead in points, and Troy Brouwer holds the lead for goals (7). Team sniper, Alexander Ovechkin, is currently tied for second in goals (5).
What to Watch For
The Devils will enter Thursday’s game looking to right the ship after their lackluster performance the past few nights. The only other time the Devils entered a slump this season, going 0-1-3, they bounced back nicely with a 5-game winning streak. In order to repeat history, the Devils will need their offense to step up. They’ve been abnormally quiet the past two games, scoring only 2 goals from Zidlicky (PPG) and Stephen Gionta. David Clarkson will look to build on his team-leading 10 goals, while Kovalchuk (15) and Elias (19) will look to add to their substantial point totals. Stefan Matteau is expected to start on the third line for the Devils, alongside Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier. This is a change of scenery from him, having previously played with Kovalchuk and Zajac, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of chemistry he can generate with his new linemates. Look for Braden Holtby, who had a very strong game in the 2-1 loss to the Rangers, to get the start against Martin Brodeur. Look for both of these offenses to try for better performances than they had in their previous games, making for a fast-paced, exciting game to watch.
Posted on February 21, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Preview, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL, Washington Capitals and tagged Alexander Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, David Clarkson, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Patrik Elias, Washington Capitals. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.