The Metropolitan Division: Part II – The Washington Capitals

New Jersey Devils vs Columbus Blue Jackets

With the 2013-14 season looming closer, we’ll be taking a look at the new and old Division match-ups in the new formed Metropolitan Division in this weekly blog. The second team we look at is another one of the three new teams to the Division, and one that the Devils have had some success against in the past few years: the Washington Capitals.

The Schedule

  • New Jersey at Washington: Saturay, December 21, 7:00 PM
  • Washington at New Jersey: Friday, January 24, 7:00 PM
  • New Jersey at Washington: Saturday, Febraury 8, 8:00 PM
  • Washington at New Jersey: Friday, April 4, 7:00 PM

Looking for a good game to go to with a few friends over the weekend? Chances are it will be against the Capitals. All four of these teams match-ups take place on either Friday or Saturday night, with both games in New Jersey on Friday, and both games in Washington on Saturday. Last season the Devils took 2-out-of-3 games against the Capitals, but were outscored in those games by a total of 9-7 (thanks to a 5-1 loss in the 3rd match).

The Teams

For the most part the Capitals’ roster remains unchanged going into the 2013-14 season. Alexander Ovechkin will still lead the team with the “C” on his chest, and Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth will stand between the pipes. This will be the first 82-game season that Adam Oates sees as the Washington Capitals head coach, having inherited the job during the summer of 2012 and it will be interesting to see how he handles his team throughout the long stretch.

As highlighted in the previous article, the Devils’ lineup went through some changes this off-season, but the recent re-signing of center Adam Henrique will add some more stability to the team. The Devils have also replaced assistant coach Matt Shaw with Mike Foligno, a former Buffalo Sabre would recently coached in the OHL.

Last Year

Last season the Washington Capitals entered the playoffs as the #3 seed, earning that spot by winning the Southeast Division with a record of 27-18-3. The home-ice advantage did not help them, however, as they fell to the New York Rangers in game 7 of the opening round, after holding a 3-2 series lead. This was the second consecutive year that the Capitals lost to the Rangers. Even more surprising was Alex Ovechkin only being held to 2 points (1G, 1A) during the 7-game series after registering 56 (32G, 24A) during the 48-game regular season. It was later revealed that he played the final two games of the series with a fractured foot.

As stated earlier, the Devils won the season series 2-1-0, taking the first two games 3-2 in OT and 3-2 in regulation. Martin Brodeur started in both wins, with Johan Hedberg getting the nod in the final game as it was the second half of a home-and-home. Ilya Kovalchuk led the team in offense, scoring 1 goal in each game, with Patrik Elias not far behind with 2 goals in the season series.

The Match-Up

If the Devils want to continue to have success against the Capitals, they’re going to have to keep generating offense and exploit the sometimes shaky goaltending of Washington. On an average night, 3 goals will be good enough to beat this team, but they are dangerous, and are more than capable of scoring 5 or 6 goals a night. The Devils’ defense and goaltending will have to be top-notch, and the addition of Corey Schneider to the line-up should help with that.  I think we can expect these games to hover around 5 or 6 goals between the two teams, just like they did last season and expect them to be fast-paced, offense-first games.

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About Rudy Adametz

Currently blogging for the Devils Army Generals, doing things like Game Previews & Recaps, as well as miscellaneous New Jersey Devils news. I've been a Devils fan my whole life and being able to contribute to the team like this is something I take a lot of pride in.

Posted on August 30, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Preview, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL, Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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