New Jersey Devils (9-10-4 22pts) v. Washington Capitals (14-7-3 31pts)
The Washington Capitals enter their weekend homestand on a 6 game winning streak as they take on the New Jersey Devils, who last time these two teams met whitewashed the Capitals 6-0. However, in their past six games the Devils have only won one game (1-2-3), and are looking to turn things around for them.
For the Capitals, they have been 7-1-0 since the return of Tom Wilson from suspension, and without key players TJ Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov who are both out due to concussions, but with the promising prospect of gaining Kuznetsov back, that could add a kick to the Capitals powerplay that has struggled during these winning times.
New Jersey Devils:
Taylor Hall — Nico Hischier — Jesper Bratt
Marcus Johansson — Pavel Zacha — Kyle Palmieri
Brett Seney — Travis Zajac — Blake Coleman
Brian Boyle — Michael McLeod — Miles Wood
Andy Greene — Damon Severson
Mirco Mueller — Sami Vatanen
Will Butcher — Ben Lovejoy
Scratched: Drew Stafford, Stefan Noesen, Egor Yakovlev
Injured: Steven Santini (broken jaw), Joey Anderson (lower body)
Alex Ovechkin — Nicklas Backstrom — Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Brett Connolly
Andre Burakovsky — Lars Eller — Devante Smith-Pelly
Chandler Stephenson — Nic Dowd — Dmitrij Jaskin
Michal Kempny — John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov — Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos — Madison Bowey
Scratched: Jonas Siegenthaler, Travis Boyd
Injured: T.J. Oshie (concussion), Brooks Orpik (knee surgery)
Capitals Goal – 3:51 – Nicklas Backstrom (7) from Alex Ovechkin (11) and Michal Kempny (5)
Capitals Penalty – 6:02 – Lars Eller 2 minutes for Cross Checking
Capitals Penalty – 18:38 – Devante Smith-Pelly 2 minutes for Interference
End of 1st – NJ – 0 WAS- 1
Shots 09 08
Faceoffs 12 07
Hits 07 03
PP 0/1* 0/0 *2nd in Progress
This was an ok period for the Capitals. The scored early on a great play by Alex Ovechkin to Nicklas Backstrom. However, the Devils did a good job of attacking the Capitals and making it difficult to leave their own zone. Plus on the Devils powerplays so far they have exposed the Capitals at certain times because of the Capitals being extra aggressive on the penalty kill.
Need to Do:
The Capitals need to do a better job of getting out of the zone cleaner, also the Capitals need to ease up on the aggression on their penalty kill a bit as mentioned above, the Devils have found an opening and is exposing it to their advantage. Lastly, the Capitals need to keep the feet moving and draw some penalties to get their powerplay on the ice.
Capitals SHG – :08 – Tom Wilson (7) from Matt Niskanen (8)
Capitals Penalty – 1:05 – Madison Bowey 2 minutes for High Sticking
Devils Penalty – 7:29 – Taylor Hall 2 minutes for Tripping
Devils SHG – 9:23 – Travis Zajac (8) from Blake Coleman (7)
Capitals Penalty – 17:39 – Tom Wilson 5 minute major for Illegal Check to the Head
End of 2nd – NJ – 1 WAS – 2
Shots 26 18
Faceoffs 21 12
Hits 09 04
PP 0/3* 0/1 *4th in progress
This was a rough period for the Capitals. It started off well from when Tom Wilson scored 8 seconds into the period but after that the Devils out hustled and out worked the Capitals in many facets of the game. The Devils were also the more physical. Braden Holtby has been spectacular in this game and is a huge reason this game is still 2-1 Capitals.
Need to Do:
The Capitals need to kill off the last 2:39 seconds of Tom Wilson’s Match penalty, which was an overblown call as he never made head contact, and once they do they need to pick up the pace and take it to the Devils. Also the Capitals are getting killed in the faceoff circle and needs to do a better job in the 3rd period.
Capitals Goal – 5:45 – Andre Burakovsky (4) from Michal Kempny (6) and Nicklas Backstrom (23)
Devils Penalty – 8:26 – Miles Wood 4 minutes for Butt-Ending
Devils Penalty – 10:17 – Sami Vatanen 2 minutes for Hooking
Capitals PPG – 10:57 – Nicklas Backstrom (8) from Evgeny Kuznetsov (16) and John Carlson (22)
Devils Goal – 12:35 – Nico Hischier (5) from unassisted
Devils Goal – 18:10 – Marcus Johansson (4) from Nico Hischier (10) and Taylor Hall (18)
Capitals ENG – 18:30 – Alex Ovechkin (19) from unassisted
Capitals ENG – 19:37 – Nicklas Backstrom (9) from Alex Ovechkin (12)
Capitals Penalty – 19:56 – Madison Bowey 2 minutes for Delay of Game
End of 3rd – NJ – 3 WAS – 6
Shots 36 31
Faceoffs 30 27
Hits 12 06
PP 0/5 1/4
In what was a very hard fought battle for the Capitals as they had to endure against a faster Devils team, as well as the loss of Tom Wilson to a very questionable Match penalty for an “illegal hit to the head” when replays clearly showed he hit the shoulder while trying to get out of the way of Brett Seney while Seney was backing up. However, the Capitals persevered and won their seventh straight game. The Devils made it difficult for the Capitals, but they found a way.
Also after celebrating surpassing Peter Bondra to become 2nd Franchise history in Points, Nicklas Backstrom would record a hat trick (3 goals) and an assist to continue where he left off against the New York Islanders.
Washington (15-7-3 33pts) v. Anaheim (13-10-5 31pts)
New Jersey (9-11-4 22pts) v. Winnipeg (14-8-2 30pts)