The Matchup: The Devils continue their tour of the biggest cities on the east coast. Monday it was New York, last night it was Boston and tonight it’s Washington D.C. This will be the 4th and final meeting of the regular season between these two. The Devils lead the season series 2-1 but we haven’t seen the Caps since that game on December 23rd where we blew a 3-0 third period lead only to win in 4-3 in OT.
Keys To The Game: If we learned anything from last night it’s that the defense needs to show up and play an entire 60 minutes (or 65 if that’s the case). Last night, the Devils D got off to a slow start, not that their offense was stellar early either. If it weren’t for Marty Brodeur, last night’s game in Boston would have gotten out of reach quickly. The defense will have to hope Hedburg is up to the task should they start slowly again tonight. Washington is currently in 9th place and points are everything to them at the moment. The Devils need to secure these 2 points tonight because Washington and Winnipeg, while still a few points behind, could make it a tight race for the lower positions in the playoffs.
The defense might have their hands full because ever since Mike Green has returned to the lineup for the Caps, Alex Ovechkin seems to have stepped up his game. That’s never a good thing for the defenseman of the NHL.
The Devils went 0/3 on the power play in Boston last night. I’m sure I am not alone in thinking that the reason we gave up so much for Marek Zidlicky was for his success on the power play. Of his 60 career goals, 42 of them have come on the power play and since his arrival in NJ, he has 0 and is logging some big PP minutes. It is a little frustrating because when you get a guy at the trade deadline, you need him to produce immediately. A successful power play would go a long way tonight.
Playoff Watch: Washington, NJ and Ottawa are in action tonight so there could be some juggling of playoff positions. We aren’t close to dropping to 8th but moving up to 6th would be nice.
For you older Devils fans, there has never been any love lossed between these two teams. Occasionally we seem to have a game that is filled with fight after fight. Just last season we had one of those games where even Kovalchuk threw a few with Mike Green but I am going down memory lane today to get you pumped for tonight's game...