Devils Set for Battle Against Capitals

NEWARK, NJ – SEPTEMBER 18: Nico Hischier #13 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Washington Capitals during the first period during a preseason game at the Prudential Center on September 18, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils are coming off a rough loss at the hand of one of their rivals, the New York Rangers. Tonight’s game against Washington will present an opportunity to bounce back though it will not be easy. The Capitals, while being extremely talented offensively, can also play a big and physical brand of hockey. The Devils can beat the Capitals, but that will require a well-executed game plan and system. Washington is one of the best teams in the league, and it will take a maximum effort with minimal mistakes to take them down. Below are some keys to the game the Devils will need to earn the win.

Devils Defensive Game Must Be Better

The Devils as a team struggled defensively against the Rangers. They gave up six goals, and the Rangers could have easily gotten a couple more. The Devils seemed two strides behind the Rangers at almost every point in the game. There were also giveaways and blown assignments defensively that led to the one-sided defeat at the hands of the Rangers. The Devils can not have that kind of performance against the Capitals or they will suffer a similar or worse fate.

Play At Even Strength

The Capitals are too dangerous of a team when it comes to the weapons they have offensively. The Devils need to stay out of the box and play the Caps 5-on-5. I would expect Nico Hischier and Travis Zajac to have some busy nights battling in the faceoff dots and with their defensive assignments. The Devils have the physicality to take on the Capitals with players, such as Miles Wood and Wayne Simmonds, so I could see the game being very physical. The Devils got burned by the Rangers when they took penalties, and the same will happen against Washington if they give them power play opportunities.

Lineups

Devils

  • Bratt – Hischier – Palmieri
  • Coleman – Zajac – Gusev
  • Wood – Zacha – Simmonds
  • Boqvist – Rooney – Hayden
  • Greene – Subban
  • Severson – Vatanen
  • Butcher – Carrick
  • Domingue
  • Cormier

Capitals

  • Ovechkin – Backstrom – Wilson
  • Vrana – Kuznetsov – Oshie
  • Hagelin – Eller – Panik
  • Leipsic – Dowd – Hathaway
  • Carlson – Kempny
  • Jensen – Orlov
  • Gudas – Siegenthaler
  • Holtby
  • Samsonov
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