The New Jersey Devils return home after a six-game road trip, which started in Washington with a 3-0 loss to the Capitals, their opponent for tonight’s game. New Jersey went 2-4 on their road trip, while the Capitals are in the midst of a four-game road trip of their own. Washington is coming off a loss to the league’s best team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, on Saturday.
What to Watch
The Capitals have a dangerous top two lines, including Alexander Ovechkin, who is leading the NHL with 48 goals at the age of 33. Complimenting him is Evgeny Kuznetsov, who has 63 points in 63 games played, and Tom Wilson, the controversial power forward who’s not afraid to play the body. This is potentially the most frightening forward line in the NHL, with Ovechkin being 6’3 235 lbs, Wilson at 6’4 218 lbs, and Kuznetsov at just 6’2 204 lbs. Washington has a great second line as well comprised of Jakub Vrana, Niklas Backstrom, and T.J. Oshie. On defense, John Carlson is the rock, with 64 points and a +/- of 18. They also have solid players like Michal Kempny, Matt Niskanen, and a Dmitry Orlov on the blue line.
Unfortunately, the Devils will have to combat this lineup with a far inferior one. Hopefully, the workhorse Blake Coleman plays top line minutes because the Devils will need to do serious defensive work against the Caps’ powerhouse top line. The last time the Devils played this type of loaded top line was against St. Louis on Feb. 12th. In that game, the Devils first line of Marcus Johansson, Travis Zajac, and Kyle Palmieri all went -3, and New Jersey lost 8-3. It’s also imperative that fourth-line players like Drew Stafford and Kurtis Gabriel don’t take penalties, so we don’t have to watch Ovechkin destroy one-timers on the powerplay. Finally, New Jersey’s experienced defenseman like Andy Greene and Damon Severson will have to keep up with the Caps’ offense if they want to win.
New Jersey Devils
When and Where to Watch
7:30PM EST; NBCSN