NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, December 21st
(All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (9-21-2) at Washington Capitals (19-12-4), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will try to win consecutive games
for the first time this month when they welcome the lowly New Jersey Devils
for tonight's battle at the Verizon Center.
The Capitals had compiled an 0-6-2 record during an eight-game losing streak,
but were finally able to end the skid with Sunday's victory in Ottawa.
Tonight, Washington will try to win two in a row for the first time since a
four-game winning streak from Nov. 24-Dec. 1.
The recent cold streak has dropped Washington to second place in the Southeast
Division and the Caps enter tonight one point behind Atlanta for first. The
Thrashers are playing tonight against St. Louis.
New Jersey, meanwhile, has struggled all year long and with 20 points is ahead
of only the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference. The Devils are just
1-7-0 in the month of December and were slammed, 7-1, by the Thrashers in
their most recent game this past Saturday.
The Devils did notch a shocking 5-0 win over the Caps the last time the clubs
met in New Jersey on Nov. 22. Jason Arnott scored twice for the Devs in that
game and Johan Hedberg made 30 saves to register the shutout as New Jersey
avenged a 7-2 setback in Washington on Oct. 9.
Jersey has taken four of six in this series overall, but the Devils have
lost two straight and three out of four in D.C.
The Capitals made their way back into the win column on Sunday, but not before
falling behind by two goals to the host Senators. Ottawa scored the only two
goals of the opening period, but Mathieu Perreault scored twice for Washington
during a three-goal outburst in the second period to help lift the Caps to the
Eric Fehr also lit the lamp and Michal Neuvirth made 24 saves for Washington,
which avoided its first nine-game slide since 2007.
"After that first period we needed a good second period, and I thought we
played really good from the second to the end," Perreault said.
Fehr is expected to miss tonight's game to attend the funeral of his
grandmother, while fellow forward Alexander Semin could sit out his fourth
straight game with flu-like symptoms and a lower-body injury.
The Capitals will have a chance to end another skid tonight as the club has
lost five straight on home ice since beating Carolina on Nov. 28. Washington
is 12-4-3 as the host this season.
New Jersey wasn't competitive for very long in Sunday's loss at Atlanta. The
Thrashers scored the first four goals of the game before Ilya Kovalchuk got
New Jersey on the board with 4:17 left in the second period. Atlanta scored
three more times in the third to make it a laugher.
"Everything went wrong," Kovalchuk said. "I don't know what ... it's
unacceptable. It's embarrassing. I don't know, that's all I can say."
Martin Brodeur was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 15
shots and Hedberg finished the game for the Devils, making four saves in
The Devils will also try to end a lengthy road losing streak tonight before
returning home for a four-game stint in Newark. New Jersey, which has a dismal
4-13-0 road record this year, has lost its last eight away from the Garden
State since notching a victory in Chicago on Nov. 3.
12/21 11:19:35 ET