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Game 15 Preview: New Jersey Devils at Washington Capitals

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The Time: 7:00 PM EDT

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+, NHL Network; Radio - 660 AM WFAN

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (7-6-1) vs. the Washington Capitals (10-4-0)

The Last Devils Game:  Last night the Devils hosted the Capitals in a 3-1 defeat.  Adam Larsson was the lone Devil to score; also, he recorded his first NHL goal.  The Devils had plenty of great opportunities and looked like the better team until the Capitals had a strong third period and the Devils offense couldn't find the back of the net.  John has the recap of the game here.

The Last Capitals Game:   The Capitals visited the Rock in the first of a home and home series with the Devils.  The capitals high scoring offense struck twice in the third to give the Capitals the win.  Japers Rink has a recap of last night's game from the opposition's viewpoint.

The Goal:  Finish tonight's game.  Last night the Devils put forth a little over 40 minutes of effort into the game.  While that might win games against AHL teams; it certainly won't defeat a team with one of the highest scoring offenses in the top league in the world.  The Devils looked fantastic through two periods.  Then the Capitals took the lead and it appeared as if the Devils believed they were down 5 goals.  Tonight the Devils need to step it up and continue to play hockey for an entire night.  They are getting paid for 60 minute games... right? (Suggestion, include a provision in the next CBA that allows for teams to take a couple periods off throughout the season, free of charge)

After the jump I have a few more things the Devils should concentrate on during their second game against the Capitals in two nights.  If you prefer a viewpoint from Washington, click here to visit Japers' Rink.

What should be easier than scoring at even strength?  If you answered: scoring on the power play, you might want to let the Devils know.  The Devils are struggling on the power play and there are no signs of it turning around.  Not much to say here except that the Devils need to generate a view scoring chances on the power play if they want to put rubber on net.

Ilya Kovalchuk most likely will not play again tonight.  I do believe Ilya should be 100% healed before playing, but it leaves the Devils with a little less firing power against a team that isn't short on goal scorers.  I also think Kovalchuk might get a little more pumped to play against another high scoring Russian, Alex Ovechkin.  Kovalchuk wanted to become the highest paid Russian hockey player when the Devils signed him, so it is safe to say that he would want to prove it against the other highly paid Russian forward.

The Goalie Situation:  Vokoun and Brodeur suited up and played last night, so most likely tonight's matchup in net will feature Michal Neuvirth vs. Johan Hedburg.  I think Moose will give the Devils a slight advantage in net.  Neuvirth shouldn't be taken lightly, but the Devils should manage to put up more goals on Neuvirth than Tomas Vokoun.  The key will be to take a few less shots in order for more quality shots.  

Shuffling: The Devils changed up their lines last night and recalled Zharkov, who got about 5 minutes of ice time last night.  The line shuffle didn't produce any offense, but didn't hinder the Devils play through the two periods where full effort was given.  It isn't early in the season anymore, DeBoer should have his lines fairly figured out by this point in the season.  I know there are few injuries, but let the players develop a little chemistry and see if that sparks Parise or Kovalchuk, or the Devils offense as a whole.

Overall, the same themes from last night apply.  Pressure, pressure, and more pressure;  if the Devils spend more time wearing down the Capitals' defense, the easier the third period should be.  The Devils also need someone to step up and score a goal or two in the first two periods so there is no need to slump in the third.  This sounds like a perfect job for the captain.  Do you believe there are any other keys to beating the Capitals tonight? Is there any weaknesses that need to be exploited by the Devils in order to win, or are the Capitals "too good"?  Sound off below and thank you for reading!