NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, October 9th
(All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (0-0-1) at Washington Capitals (0-1-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After both were eliminated from the postseason last year
despite being the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference, the Capitals and
Devils were unable to get their new seasons off to a winning start.
The two clubs will try to change that tonight when Washington opens its home
schedule against New Jersey at the Verizon Center.
Helped by a 30-5-6 record at home, the Capitals won the Presidents' Trophy
thanks to a 121-point season, but that didn't stop them from blowing a 3-1
series lead over Montreal in the postseason's opening round. The Devils, the
conference's second seed and Atlantic Division champs, didn't fare much better
as they were knocked off by the Flyers in the first round.
Hoping to rebound from those upsets, both Washington and New Jersey lost their
season openers on Friday night. Washington dropped a 4-2 decision in Atlanta,
while New Jersey suffered a 4-3 overtime loss against visiting Dallas.
The Capitals' opener was overshadowed by a scary moment early in the game when
Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec collapsed in front of his own goal, losing
consciousness. He was quickly attended to by trainers and carted off the ice
before being taken to a local hospital.
Pavelec regained consciousness and the team announced that preliminary tests
Washington's Brooks Laich scored the game's first goal on Atlanta's Chris
Mason not long after the incident, but the Thrashers scored the game's next
three goals to seize control.
Mike Knuble scored in the third period and Michal Neuvirth allowed all four
goals on 31 shots for the Caps.
"They just outworked us here tonight," said Washington head coach Bruce
Boudreau. "You get rewarded when you outwork teams. Our guys are old enough to
know they have to play better if they want to succeed. It's not as if this is
their first game together. It's one game, [Saturday] we'll be at home and
we'll be ready."
New Jersey will pay a visit to the Verizon Center after last night's overtime
loss. Travis Zajac and Zach Parise scored less then eight minutes into the
game as the Devils took control early, but the Stars battled back and earned
the extra point on Loui Eriksson's tally 1:36 into OT.
Zajac also had an assist, Jason Arnott scored and Ilya Kovalchuk set up two
goals in his first regular-season game since signing his much-publicized 15-
year, $100 million contract this offseason.
"I thought we competed really hard and as I said before the game, it's the
little things that make the difference. These things happen and we live and
learn and move on. It's a long season," said Devils head coach John MacLean,
who was coaching his first game with the club after taking over for the fired
The Devils won three of four over the Capitals last season and have won seven
of their last 10 trips to Washington.
10/09 10:38:45 ET