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Game Preview: Devils at Capitals

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Washington Capitals Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

After falling 4-3 in yesterday’s game against the Capitals, the Devils look to come back and perform well against those very same Capitals.

The Game: New Jersey Devils (12-15-4) vs the Washington Capitals (21-7-4)

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: ESPN+, MSG+

Yesterday’s loss continued the Devils’ cold streak again the Capitals, in which they’ve gotten close on four of the five occasions, but failed to break through. There are no excuses on the ice, with the Devils getting outmatched by the better team in all occasions, and boy are the Capitals a good team. Ovechkin is hot again, which is bad news for any team, and Nicklas Backstrom is still one of the best players in the NHL. All of their depth players can and will create chances when given the opportunity, and their goaltending has been solid, though not great.

For the Devils, yesterday’s game marked one of the few losses they’ve had in a recent stretch, as they went 4-1-1 in their last six. Their puck movement is looking stronger, with players such as Jesper Bratt and Yegor Sharangovich much more willing to rip the puck. Blackwood, despite yesterday’s showing, looked much improved after a cold stretch likely caused by COVID after syndromes. The future is promising!

While not related to today’s game, the Devils recently announced the signings of two future Devils in Tyce Thompson and Aarne Talvitie. While Thompson is the more promising prospect with the higher ceiling, Talvitie is also an intriguing prospect coming off an injury, looking to make an impact. These are two exciting additions to an already great farm system, and perhaps we’ll get a glimpse of them this season.

The Devils Lines

I’d expect the lines to look similar to yesterday’s game for the Devils. As such they should look like this.

Kuokkanen - Zajac - Sharangovich

Bratt - Hughes - Palmieri

Maltsev - Zacha - Merkley

Johnsson - McLeod - Wood

Smith - Severson

Kulikov - Subban

Murray - Vatanen

I’d expect Scott Wedgewood to start in goal.

The Capitals Lines

Similar to the Devils, I expect the Capitals to run the same lineup as well

Ovechkin - Kuznetsov - Oshie

Vrana - Backstrom - Wilson

Sheary - Panik - Sprong

Hagelin - Dowd - Hathaway

Dillon - Carlson

Orlov - Schultz

Chara - Jensen

I’d expect Ilya Samsonov to start.

On the season, Samsonov is 8-6-1 with a .908 save percentage.

Your Thoughts

What do the Devils need to do to continue improving? Do you want any line changes? Let me know in the comments below, and go Devils!