NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, November 14th (All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (7-6-2) at Washington Capitals (9-4-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will aim for their fifth consecutive victory tonight, when they welcome the struggling New Jersey Devils to the Verizon Center for the opener of a home-and-home series.
Washington has an excellent 6-0-1 record as the host club this season, while the Devils are 3-2-1 as the visiting team this year. New Jersey will host the Caps on Saturday in what will be the start of a three-game homestand at the Prudential Center.
The Capitals began their season-high four-game winning streak with a home win over Southeast Division rival Carolina. Washington's latest victory also came against the Hurricanes as the Caps posted an easy win Wednesday night in Raleigh. Washington currently holds a two-point lead over Carolina in the Southeast.
Washington routed the Hurricanes, 5-1, in Wednesday's meeting at the RBC Center. The Caps line of Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom combined for 12 points in the blowout.
Semin had two goals and three assists for a career-high five points and is riding a five-game point streak, while Ovechkin collected a goal and two helpers. Backstrom notched his first goal of the season and assisted on three others in tying a career-high with four points.
Semin currently leads the NHL in goals (13) and points (27).
Brent Johnson stopped 13-of-14 first-period shots before leaving with an undisclosed lower-body injury prior to the second. Jose Theodore took over and halted each of the 13 shots faced over the final two periods. Theodore is expected to get the start tonight.
The Devils, meanwhile, have dropped three straight and four of their last five games since franchise goaltender Martin Brodeur was injured in a win over Atlanta on November 1. Brodeur had surgery to repair a torn distal biceps in his left elbow and will miss the next three-to-four months.
New Jersey was in action Wednesday evening against the visiting New York rangers and was handed a 5-2 setback as Nikolai Zherdev scored twice for the Blueshirts.
Travis Zajac and Jamie Langenbrunner scored for the Devils, who have also lost seven of their last nine outings.
Kevin Weekes started the game for the Devils and allowed four goals on 25 shots through 40 minutes. Scott Clemmensen finished the contest by stopping 16-of-17 shots.
Brodeur had started Jersey's previous 21 games against the Rangers. The last time New York faced another Devils goaltender to start a game was on November 5, 2005 when Clemmensen was between the pipes.
The Devils have won two of three, four of six and 10 of the last 13 meetings with the Capitals and earned a shootout victory in D.C. on October 18. Jersey has taken two straight and six of seven in the nation's capital.
11/14 10:41:00 ET