With the 2013-14 season looming closer, we’ll be taking a look at the new and old Division match-ups in the new formed Metropolitan Division in this weekly blog. The second team we look at is another one of the three new teams to the Division, and one that the Devils have had some success against in the past few years: the Washington Capitals.
Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star: M. Ribeiro (WAS) (2 assists)
2nd Star: Braden Holtby (WAS) (1 GA, 21 Saves)
1st Star: Alexander Ovechkin (WAS) (3 goals, 1 assist, GWG)
Coming off a hard-fought, come-from-behind win on Thursday night, the Devils were hoping to take both games in D.C. and extend their lead in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Capitals, however, had other plans.
Game Time: 7:00 PM
Radio: WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM
The New Jersey Devils have been in the NHL since 1982, but this week they will do something they’ve never done in team history: travel out of town to play the same opponent twice. In the 2005-06 season, the Devils hosted the Flyers in consecutive games, but they’ve never done it on the road in the regular season. Thursday night the New Jersey Devils (9-3-4) will play the first of two consecutive games in our nation’s capital against the Washington Capitals (5-9-1). The Devils will look to get out of a bit of a funk they’ve found themselves in, going 1-2-1 in their past 4 games, while the Capitals will look to continue their hot streak, winning 3 of their last 4. The Devils escaped with 2 points in the teams’ last meeting, winning 3-2 in OT in New Jersey.
Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star: Jacob Josefson (NJD) (1 assist)
2nd Star: Mike Green (WAS) (1 goal, 1 assist)
1st Star: Ilya Kovalchuk (NJD) (GWG goal)
The Devils seemed to be lacking a certain pep in their step to start the 1st period of Friday night’s game. Their offense seemed uncoordinated, and they were unable to put a lot of pressure on the Capitals to start the game. Washington, however, was dominant through the first half of the period. Brodeur was called upon to weather an early storm by a desperate opponent, and as he did for the first two games, Marty was up to the task. As the period went on, and more fans began to make their way through the snowstorm outside, the momentum began to shift the Devils way. The Devils were given their first power play of the night, as Jay Beagle was called for holding, but with just 7 seconds left on the power play, Kovalchuk was called for hooking. The Devils penalty kill looked strong, as usual, and in the closing seconds, Josefson broke free from the zone with Gionta trailing. As Tomas Kundratek swatted the puck away from Josefson in front of Neuvirth, his clearing attempt landed directly on Gionta’s stick, resulting in the first goal of the game as Gionta hammered home a golden opportunity at 13:55 of the first period.
In the home-opener, the New Jersey Devils (2-0-0) put up a decisive win over their Atlantic Division rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, in front of an ecstatic, sold-out crowd. They’ll look to repeat that success against the Washington Capitals (0-3-0) Friday night in front of another sold out Prudential Center. During the 2011-12 season, the Devils went 3-1-0 against the Capitals, losing their first outing 3-1, then winning the next two in shootouts before shutting out the Capitals 5-0 on March 2. At the Prudential Center, the Devils were 1-1-0 against the Capitals with Martin Brodeur in net both nights.