NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, November 22nd
(All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (14-5-2) at New Jersey Devils (5-13-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will try to avoid their first
three-game losing streak since last March when they visit the struggling New
Jersey Devils for tonight's battle at Prudential Center.
The Capitals lost consecutive games this weekend against Atlanta and
Philadelphia, and Bruce Boudreau's club hasn't been on the losing end in three
straight games since Washington went 0-2-1 from March 25-30 of last season.
Washington was handed a 5-0 drubbing Friday evening in Atlanta and returned
home Saturday to face Philadelphia, which posted a 5-4 shootout victory over
the host Capitals. Danny Briere notched the winner in the shootout for the
Briere opened the third and final round by scoring on a soft shot between the
pads of Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth. Alexander Semin looked like he
prolonged the session, but as Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher slid, his chance
rang off the left post to end the contest.
Jason Chimera posted a goal and one helper for the Capitals. Marcus Johansson,
Nicklas Backstrom and Eric Fehr also lit the lamp, while Neuvirth allowed four
goals on 35 shots.
"There were a lot of power plays for us and for them, and that's why it was a
high-scoring game," Neuvirth said. "Big comeback by us at the end, but we just
couldn't get it done in the shootout."
Washington lost the game despite going 3-for-7 on the power play. The Capitals
are fifth in the NHL with a 23.7 percent success rate on the man advantage
Capitals forward Mike Knuble left Friday's game against Atlanta after getting
hit in the face with a puck and did not return. He also sat out Saturday's
game against his former club and is questionable for tonight.
Washington is playing the first of two straight on the road tonight and is 4-
4-1 as the guest after losing its last two games away from D.C.
Meanwhile, the Devils enter tonight with three straight losses and the club
has just 12 points on the year, tying them with the New York Islanders for
last in the NHL. New Jersey has just two wins in its last nine games, going
2-6-1 over that stretch.
All three of the setbacks on New Jersey's current slide have come in
regulation, including Saturday's close loss in St. Louis. Brad Winchester
scored the game-winning goal early in the third period to lift the Blues to a
3-2 win at Scottrade Center. David Clarkson and Mattias Tedenby tallied for
the Devils, who led the game 2-1 midway through the second period.
"We had some energy. I thought we came out strong," said New Jersey head coach
John MacLean. We played hard. We had an opportunity go up 3-1, but we couldn't
bury the third one."
The defeat in St. Louis wasn't the only bad news for the Devils on Saturday.
It was also reported by a New Jersey newspaper that goaltender Martin Brodeur
may not return to action for up to two weeks due to the recurrence of a right
elbow injury. Brodeur was originally hurt in Chicago on November 3.
Mike McKenna, a native of St. Louis, started in Brodeur's place on Saturday
and wound up taking the defeat after allowing three goals on 27 shots. Johan
Hedberg is expected to be New Jersey's No. 1 goaltender in Brodeur's absence
and the Swede will likely get the start tonight.
Devils defenseman Andy Greene suffered a stinger when he fell into the boards
on Saturday, but could play tonight.
New Jersey will play two straight and four of its next five games on home ice.
The Devils have just one win in eight home tests (1-5-2) this season.
The Capitals slammed New Jersey, 7-2, when the clubs met in D.C. earlier this
season and Alex Ovechkin had a pair of goals in that game. The Devils still
have won six out of 11 in the series overall and Washington has dropped three
of four and four of its last six in the Garden State.
11/22 11:02:29 ET