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Game Preview #22: New Jersey Devils vs Washington Capitals

The Devils look to make a new winning streak with a win over a team they’ve struggled against over the last few years

Washington Capitals v New Jersey Devils Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images

The Time: 7:00 PM ET

The Broadcast: TV - MSGSN; Audio - The Devils Hockey Network

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils at the Washington Capitals (SBN Blog: Japers’ Rink)

The Last Devils Game:

The Devils won 3-1 against the Buffalo Sabres in last night’s game. Shots were 44-34 in favor of the Devils. Schmid was in goal for the Devils with a strong performance. Craig Anderson gave up a couple soft goals but also made some big saves and overall he had a save percentage of .932.

Hughes, Boqvist, and Tatar had the goals for NJ. Chris recapped the game here

The Last Capitals Game

The Caps defeated the Flames 3-0 yesterday. Ovi, Oshie, and Kuznetsov had the goals for Washington and Kuemper had a 32 save shutout.

The Last Devils-Capitals Game

The Devils 3rd loss of the season came on October 24, a 6-3 defeat to the Caps. Washington had 6 different goal scorers with Hathaway, Jensen, Protas, Dowd, Ovechkin, and Sheary scoring. Strome and Eller each added 2 assists. Tatar, Bratt, and Bastian scored for the Devils and Marino had 2 assists. Blackwood allowed 5 goals on 18 shots and Vanecek 1 on 4 shots. Not the best goaltending performance of the season. Vanecek has been great since then.

The Capitals have been the Devils’ kryptonite

Over the last couple seasons, the Capitals have destroyed the Devils. During the 2021 season of exclusively divisional play, they went 0-6-2 against Washington. They managed a win during the 2021-22 season but still went 1-2. So far this year they’re 0-1. So over the last 3 seasons they have a record of 1-9-2 against a divisional opponent. I don’t know what it is about the Capitals, but they have taken down the Devils with ease recently. Now that they’ve won 15 in a row (I am going to pretend the first two goals were not overturned and the Devils won 3-2) it should be a different story. This is a much better Devils team than last year or the year before. Poor goaltending has been what has usually sunk the Devils against the Caps, and Vanecek has been great after the first game of the season. The Capitals have had injury problems this year, so that combined with a better Devils team should hopefully mean a Devils win.

Keys to the Game

The Devils have often lost to the Caps because of poor goaltending. You need saves to wins games. They’ve been getting them lately so hopefully Vanecek will shut down the Caps tonight.

It seems like Ovechkin scores every game against the Devils, so the goal should be to keep him to 1 goal without getting hyperfocused and allowing the rest of the team to have time and space. In the last game the Caps had 6 different players score, and seems like a few defensive lapses cost them in that game. They had a few d zone mishaps in the first few games but it was mostly fixed during the winning streak. Not making d zone mistakes is important for beating the Caps. Any team really, but especially them. They always seem to capitalize on mistakes the Devils make.

Your Thoughts

Do you think you know why the Devils usually lose to the Caps? Will the Devils make it another winning streak? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and thank you for reading.