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Game Preview: New Jersey Devils vs. Washington Capitals

The Devils take on the Washington Capitals, who are coming off a bye week. Can they match their performance against the Islanders?

NHL: New Jersey Devils at New York Islanders
Can we get another good night out of Severson?
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (23-12-8) versus the Washington Capitals (28-14-3), SBN Blog: Japers’ Rink

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: MSG+

The Awfulness of the Metropolitan: The Devils come into this game five points behind the Capitals having played two less games. The Devils also have four teams within four points of them in the standings, including the Islanders, who they just beat. Though, since the division is too good in general, even the bottom two teams are within 6 points of the Devils. Not only is the game today against a Metropolitan team, but a good deal of the rest of the year will be divisional games for the Devils. For making the playoffs, it’s do-or-die with these games.

Coming off a Bye-Week: The Washington Capitals just got off their bye week. And if you happened to be someone who got to deal with the weather yesterday, you know why they will come into tonight without a full practice.

We will see how the Capitals respond to playing under such circumstances. They will have to get ready for the game with an 11:30 AM morning skate. With the Devils having rolled over the Islanders on Tuesday, I have to think the Devils are at an advantage in their readiness to play.

It Was Only for a Day: Steve Santini is already back from Binghamton. Though, he never actually traveled to the AHL club.

This means that Ken Appleby is back to Binghamton, and Cory Schneider is well enough to at least back up tonight. Hopefully Keith Kinkaid won’t have to start again, though he did do well against the Islanders.

Lineups?: The Devils had the day off yesterday. John Hynes’ plan for tonight’s game is unknown, and there will probably be more known during the 11:30 morning skate or sometime between then and the game. I hope that Blake Coleman gets back into the lineup, as the Capitals’ power play can be lethal, and the Devils will need their forecheckers and penalty killers to beat Washington.

Aside from that, if Steve Santini comes back, I personally hope he stays away from the top pairing. After Damon Severson’s good game on Tuesday, I think he deserves a shot at more ice time - preferably with Andy Greene. And frankly, I think Santini might actually get sent to Binghamton if he keeps getting buried in defensive zone starts on the top pairing against elite players. But, we’ll see.

Your Thoughts: What do you think of the NHL’s bye week resulting in a team playing on five days of rest without a full practice? Do you think the Capitals will respond well? What do you think of the Devils’ chances for tonight. Leave your comments below.