DAB Pregame: New Look Devils Take on NHL’s Best

 

Last time Devils faced the Capitals was retro-night at The Rock. –Getty Images

 

Match Overview

After a relatively boring and frustrating trade-deadline, the Devils are back in action tonight at 7:00 PM in Washington D.C.. Tonight’s match-up will feature the NHL-leading Washington Capitals, who hold a 42-13-7 record, and your New Jersey Devils, who currently reside 14th in the Eastern Conference with a 25-25-12 record.

On the Devils’ side of things, we will be seeing a different looking team. Trade brought in defenseman Dalton Prout (who will not play tonight), recall brought-up forward Kevin Rooney (will make his NHL-debut), and we saw the departures of forward P.A. Parenteau and defenseman Kyle Quincey. It’ll be very interesting to see how this newer looking unit meshes together, especially since they have been struggling as of late. In their last 6-games the Devils have surmounted a dismal 1-3-2 record and in these games, they are surrounding an average of 3.5 goals a game. The past 6-games haven’t been all bad though as the Devils’ power-play, that was once a spot of great frustration, has been on a tear recently (6 for 11, 55% rate) and the Devils, as wild as it sounds, have been putting the puck into the back of the net (2.55 goal a game average in the month of February).

On the Capital’s side of things, the recent acquisition, stud-defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, will be making his home-debut. The Capitals bolstered an already stellar line-up at the trade-deadline hoping to finally capture them something that eluded the team since its creation in 1974. The Capitals currently sit atop of the NHL with a hefty 91-points. As you would think the Capitals come into this match-up hot, as they went 9-2-1 in the month of February. The Capitals also are top-10 in every major NHL-team statistic. They are 1st in goals against, 3rd in goals per game, 5th on the power-play, and 6th on the penalty-kill. To say the least the Capitals have been spectacular so far this season. Also worth noting, forward T.J. Oshie will miss tonight’s game for the Capitals due to injury, but they will be getting back defenseman Brooks Orpik. Braden Holtby (32-8-5, 1.95 GAA, .929 Sv%) will be in between the pipes.

 

Projected Devil Lines

Hall-Zajac-Palmieri

Wood-Henrique-Bennett

Cammalleri-Coleman-Noesen

Blandisi-Rooney-DSP

Greene-Lovejoy

Moore-Santini

Severson-Merrill

Schneider (19-18-10, 2.67 GAA, .913 Sv%)

 

Devils Injury Report

  • Forward Jacob Josefson was injured in the first period of the Devils’ 4-3 OT loss to Montréal on Monday night. He will not be making the trip to Washington D.C. and is said to have an “upper-body” injury.
  • Forward Pavel Zacha was concussed two games ago during the Devils’ 4-3 loss at the hands of the New York Rangers. He did make the trip to Washington D.C. and even participated in morning skate but will not play.

 

Centerman Kevin Rooney will be making his NHL-debut tonight. -Getty Images

 

What/Who to Watch

  • Forward Kevin Rooney has a very interesting story this year. Rooney was on a PTO-deal with the Albany Devils (AHL) until he was finally signed to a 1-year entry level deal just a couple days ago. Rooney has compiled 17 points (10G, 7A) through 57-games in the AHL this season and also has 39 penalty-minutes. It’ll be interesting to see what type of player Rooney is. It’s reported he will be wearing #58 in his debut.
  • The Devils’ power-play, as said before, has been absolutely lighting it up as they bring in a streak of 5-straight games with a power-play goal. At one point the Devils’ power-play was ranked 29th in the league. With its recent resurgence, however, the Devils now hold the 18th best power-play in the league at 18.5%. It’ll be interesting to see if the streak stays alive as they will be facing the 6th best penalty-kill in the league.
  • The Capitals have been astounding this year at home. They have compiled a 25-5-1 season record at the Verizon Center and are currently on a 13-home game win streak. To go along with this theme of them being terrific at home, in these last 13 games they are averaging 4.85 goals a game. That number is by far the highest any team has compiled in the same period of time. The Capitals are lethal at home and Devils will really have their work cut out for them tonight.
  • Capital’s centreman Evgeny Kuznetsov has been on an absolute tear lately producing 6-points in his last 5-games played (3G, 3A). The Capitals have so many weapons and it is hard just to pick one to focus on but the Devils should make sure they keep an eye on this young-superstar Evgeny Kuznestov.

Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG+ at 7:00 PM.

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