With legendary former New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur in attendance prior to his jersey retirement ceremony on Tuesday against Edmonton, first-time NHL All Star goaltender Braden Holtby and the league-leading Washington Capitals (36-9-4) visit Newark today for the first time this season, as they will face off against the New Jersey Devils (26-20-6) in a rare 1:00 PM puck drop at Prudential Center.
This afternoon’s game is the second matchup of the season between the Devils and Capitals. The first matchup occurred early in the regular season on October 10th, 2015 at Verizon Center. The Capitals earned their first victory of the year by a score of 5-3. Michael Cammalleri, Adam Henrique, and Eric Gelinas netted goals for the Devils while Alex Ovechkin, Jason Chimera, Marcus Johansson, Brooks Orpik, and Matt Niskanen scored for Washington. Braden Holtby made 21 saves on 24 shots and Keith Kinkaid stopped 22 of 26 shots on goal.
The New Jersey Devils will visit Verizon Center for the final time this season on February 20th and the Washington Capitals will return to Prudential Center to wrap up this year’s season series on March 25th.
New Jersey is coming into today’s game following a 3-2 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Keith Kinkaid appeared in his first game since January 12th vs. St. Louis and performed well against the Maple Leafs on Thursday, stopping 37 of 39 shots in 65 minutes of play. P.A. Parenteau scored the lone goal in the shootout and Jacob Josefson, Shawn Matthias, David Schlemko, and Tyler Bozak scored in regulation. Bozak’s game-tying tally sent the game to overtime late in the third period at the 17:54 mark.
Washington is playing in their first game of a back-to-back set this weekend today in Newark. They defeated our other cross-Hudson River rivals, the New York Islanders, 3-2 on Thursday at Verizon Center. Braden Holtby’s 24-save performance ended the Capitals three-game losing skid and Alex Ovechkin, Andre Burakovsky, and T.J. Oshie scored.
Projected Line Combinations:
New Jersey Devils (as of Friday’s practice in Newark, per Tom Gulitti)
Joseph Blandisi-Adam Henrique-Lee Stempniak
Reid Boucher-Travis Zajac-Kyle Palmieri
Sergey Kalinin-Jacob Josefson-Tyler Kennedy
Bobby Farnham-Stephen Gionta-Jordin Tootoo
Extra forwards: Stefan Matteau, Tuomo Ruutu
Andy Greene-Adam Larsson
Eric Gelinas-David Schlemko
John Moore-Seth Helgeson
Extra defenseman: Damon Severson
New Jersey Devils Injuries: LW/RW Ryane Clowe (concussion symptoms, out indefinitely), LW Patrik Elias (right knee, injured reserve), C/LW Jiri Tlusty (wrist, will miss the remainder of the regular season), D Jon Merrill (right arm, injured reserve), C/LW Michael Cammalleri (right hand, injured reserve, ruled out through the end of this week)
Washington Capitals (per Daily Faceoff, subject to change):
Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams
Jason Chimera-Mike Richards-Tom Wilson
Brooks Laich-Paul Carey-Michael Latta
Karl Alzner-Matt Niskanen
Nate Schmidt-John Carlson
Dimitry Orlov-Taylor Chorney
Washington Capitals Injuries: D Brooks Orpik (lower-body, did travel with team to New Jersey), C Jay Beagle (upper-body, out indefinitely), C Marcus Johansson (upper-body, did not travel with team to New Jersey)
Projected Goaltending Matchup:
New Jersey Devils:
Cory Schneider (Record: 23-15-5 in 43GP, .929 SV%, 2.03 GAA) – The Massachusetts native and Boston College alum is appearing in his first start since February 2nd vs. the New York Rangers. On Tuesday, Schneider stopped 33 of 31 shots and held a .939 save percentage in 59:46 of ice time as New Jersey defeated New York, 3-2. He is sixth in the National Hockey League in wins with 23, fifth in losses with 15, and 2nd in games played with 43.
Braden Holtby (Record: 31-5-3 in 40GP, .928 SV%, 2.07 GAA) – The 26-year old Saskatchewan native and Cory Schneider’s 2016 All-Star Game teammate has been having a career season for Washington. In 40 games played, he has only lost 5 games in regulation time and leads the National Hockey League this season in wins by a goaltender with 31.
Players to Watch:
New Jersey Devils:
David Schlemko (6G-9A in 44GP) – The 28-year old Edmonton native has recorded 6 points (2 goals and 4 assists) in his last five games played. An offseason acquisition by Devils GM Ray Shero, the defenseman has reached a career-high in points this season in New Jersey with 15 points in 44 games.
John Carlson (6G-21A, 27 points in 37GP)– A native of Colonia, New Jersey and former junior hockey player with the New Jersey Rockets, the 26 year-old defenseman is playing in his fourth game since returning from injury. The first round Washington Capitals draft choice in 2008 has recorded 6 goals and 21 assists in 37 games played this season. He most recently recorded a point on December 21st against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Credits to Getty Images for all images used.
This afternoon’s game will be televised on MSG+ with pre-game coverage beginning at 12:30 PM and puck drop at 1:00 PM. It will be broadcasted on WFAN Sports Radio (101.9 FM) with Matt Loughlin and Sherry Ross beginning at 12:30 PM.
Nick Papadimas is a New Jersey native, New Jersey Devils season ticket holder, and avid hockey fan. He is an aspiring sports journalist and high school student who has also covered high school sports and local events for TAPinto.net since 2012. He has been credentialed on behalf of the NJSIAA and TAPinto.net to cover high school sports since 2013. Nick may be reached on Twitter (@ngpaps) or by e-mail at email@example.com.