DAB Pregame: Undermanned Devils Take on One of NHL’s Hottest Teams

The Devils and Capitals both bring streaks into tonights game. (BRUCE BENNETT/Getty Images North America)

Match Overview

Tonight’s game will feature your New Jersey Devils, who currently own a 25-33-9 record, which puts them last in the Metropolitan Division, and the Washington Capitals, who own a 39-21-7 record, which puts them first in the Metropolitan Division.

The Devils have only one goal in their past two games. This does not come as much of a surprise given the offensive injuries they have. However, forwards Kyle Palmieri and John Quenneville are making the trip to Washington and will make their return to the lineup. This may make it a little easier to try and end a four-game losing streak. It’s been confirmed that Mackenzie Blackwood will get the start in between the pipes.

The Capitals are one of the NHL’s hottest teams. They are bringing in a five-game winning streak and are 8-2-0 over their last ten games. Over these past ten games, they have scored three or more goals in each of their victories. Led by superstar Alex Ovechkin (46 goals), the Capitals own the sixth highest goals per game average in the NHL. It will be interesting to see how the recently stout Devils’ defense handles the potent Capitals offense. It’s been confirmed that Braden Holtby (25-16-4, 2.94 GAA, .909 Sv%) will be in between the pipes.

Tonight’s game will be at Capital One Arena and is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM.

Projected Devils Lines

Agostino/Zajac/Palmieri
Noesen/Coleman/Stafford
Lappin/McLeod/Anderson
Quenneville/Pietila/Gabriel

Greene/Severson
Butcher/Carrick
Yakovlev/Santini

Blackwood

Projected Capitals Lines

Ovechkin/Kuznetsov/Wilson
Vrana/Backstrom/Oshie
Hagelin/Eller/Connoly
Burakovsky/Dowd/Boyd

Kempny/Carlson
Orlov/Niskanen
Orpik/Jensen

Holtby

What/Who to Watch

  • Surprisingly, the Devils defense has been great the past two contests. They have only given up one goal and a total of 48 shots. The main reason the Devils’ defense has done well recently is because of the small number of high danger chances they have conceded. In these past two games, they have only given up six high danger shot attempts combined. This trend will certainly be tested tonight against a solid Capitals offense.

 

  • Unfortunately, center Michael McLeod has yet to tally any points, but he gets closer and closer every game. Many thought he was able to finally convert against the Blue Jackets. However, he hit the post on the power play late in the third period. A definite strong point of his game has been his performance in the faceoff circle. He currently owns a 61.5% success rate in the dot this season. Maybe tonight will finally be the night McLeod tallies his first career point.

 

  • Forward Nicklas Backstrom has continued his role as the unsung hero on this Capitals team. He has been particularly great as of late, as he has seven points (3G, 4A) in his last five games. Being on the team’s second line will most likely garner the attention of the Devils second best defensive pairing. Look for Backstrom to once again be on the scoresheet in this one.

 

  • The Capitals’ offense has been great, their defense…not so much. Coming into tonight’s contest, the Capitals are the seventh-worst team in terms of expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) per game at 2.65. This presents a great opportunity for a struggling Devils offense to get back on track.

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

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