The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (9-21-2) at the Washington Capitals (19-12-4)
Season Series: Third of four meetings this season. Each team has won on home ice in a rout. Alex Ovechkin scored twice, once on a penalty shot, in Washington's 7-2 victory on Oct. 9, while Johan Hedberg stopped all 30 shots he faced for his 15th career shutout and Jason Arnott had a pair of goals in a 5-0 triumph by New Jersey on Nov. 22.
The Last Devils Game: Those 4 words make me laugh. To call what the Devils were a part of Saturday Night in Atlanta a game is an absolute joke. Yes, the Devils took to the ice but they certainly didn't put any effort into anything on Saturday. If the object was to get completely annihilated in every aspect of a hockey game for the full 60 minutes, then mission accomplished.
The Last Caps Game: The Caps are another team that isn't playing up to expectation but they are playing better than NJ in the grand scheme of things. The Caps entered a Sunday matchup against Ottawa having dropped its last 8 games. Mathieu Perreault put the Caps ahead 3-2 in the second and where able to hold and allow their fans a sigh of relief.
Tonight's Game: I am certainly looking for ANYTHING better than what I saw on Friday and Saturday night. As I said in a previous post, I can take losing but watching a team that looks like it doesn't care about anything is completely unacceptable.
The last time the Devils played the Caps, the Devils looked like a team we hadn't seen yet this season. They passed well, shot well and completely dominated the Caps. We wondered if we had witnessed the turn around to the season but sadly, we didn't. The Devils should go into tonight's game with a little bit of confidence since the Caps are one of the few teams we can dominate. Of course if the Caps team that is on paper shows up, it might be uglier than Saturday night.
So what are the Devils preparing for tonight? Bluntly, shit in a can!! Martin Brodeur was announced as the starter, Matthew Corrente was called up to New Jersey, and John MacLean mixed up the forward lines to the following:
Ilya Kovlachuk-Tim Sestito-Mattias Tedenby; Patrik Elias-Travis Zajac-Jamie Langenbrunner; Brian Rolston-Dainius Zubrus-Adam Mair. Rod Pelley-Jason Arnott-David Clarkson.
Sestito on the top line?? Arnott on the 4th? How is MacLean the man for this job if he doesn't understand his own players? Terrible line combinations!!
I'm OK with Marty in goal tonight. It's not like Hedberg is that much better this season so going with Marty or Hedberg is a draw in my opinion. Corrente, ehh he's not terrible but he's going to be the spark this team needs. Back to Sestito for a minute. Yes, he can play but to stick him on a line with Kovalchuk and Tedenby is crazy. He's going to see a lot of ice time against guys that are far better than he is. Hopefully MacLean will recognize that early and change it up.
For me, Devils need to show us that they are learning from their losses this season. So far, they haven't shown that but I am forever hopeful. They need to learn what passes to attempt, where the open man is and (yes, I am picking on Kovalchuk here) when to dump the puck vs trying to beat three defenders to enter the zone. Even if the Capitals beat on the Devils tonight they need to understand what they did wrong and commit the same mistake in the next game.