New Jersey Devils (24-21-13) at Washington Capitals (26-23-9)
8:00 PM ET • Verizon Center • MSG, Sports Radio 66 AM & 101.9 FM WFAN
Tonight’s game is New Jersey’s last before the Olympic break. New Jersey will open its post-Olympic schedule on February 27 vs. Columbus at Prudential Center (7:00 PM, MSG Plus 2, WFAN). Fourteen of the Devils’ 23 remaining games will be played at The Rock.
With yesterday’s 2-1 OT win vs. Edmonton, New Jersey now has points in 12 of its last 15 games (7-3-5=19pts) and in 19 of its last 25 contests (12-6-7=31pts).
New Jersey has now played in four consecutive games that were decided in overtime (no ties) for the first time in franchise history.
The Devils are closing-out their 15th of 22 sets of back-to-back games tonight. New Jersey is now 6-6-3 in first games and 7-2-5 in second games when playing on consecutive dates.
New Jersey is 10-7-3=23pts vs. Metropolitan Division opponents this season.
The Devils’ penalty-kill unit was 3/3 last night and is 32/35 (91.4%) over the last 11 games.
Cory Schneider will make his sixth straight start in goal tonight. He made 19 saves last night vs. Edmonton to improved to 11-10-9 on the season. Schneider is second in the NHL with a 1.88 goals-against average and is 6-2-4 with one shutout, a 1.51 GAA & .943 save-percentage in his last 13 appearances.
Jon Merrill scored the overtime game-winner last night, the first of his NHL career. He becomes the first player in team history to score an OT goal as the first of his career.
Michael Ryder and Adam Henrique assisted on the OT goal and they remain tied for fifth on the club in scoring with 27pts each this season.
Andrei Loktionov also scored last night, his fourth of the season and first since December 4 vs. Montreal.
Bryce Salvador collected the primary assist on Loktionov’s goal, his third of the year and first since October 19 at New York.
Jaromir Jagr also assisted on Loktionov’s tally and now has 1,039 in his NHL career, just one behind Marcel Dionne (1,040a) for ninth place all-time.
Anton Volchenkov (lower body) missed his second straight game last night and is questionable.
Devils vs. Capitals
Tonight’s game between the Devils and Capitals is the third of four meetings between the teams this season, and the second to be played at Verizon Center.
New Jersey leads the season series 2-0-0 following a 2-1 win at Prudential Center on January 24.
Jaromir Jagr has 1g-4a-5pts to lead the Devils, while Jason Chimera (2g) Joel Ward (1g-1a) and Martin Erat (2a) each had two points to leads the Caps. Martin Brodeur (1-0-0, 3.95 GAA & .818 save %) and Cory Schneider (1-0-0, 1.00 GAA & .968 save %) have each made one start in goal for New Jersey, while Braden Holtby (0-0-1, 4.96 GAA& .865 save %) and Michal Neuvirth (0-1-0, 2.04 GAA & .933 save%) have split the goaltending duties for Washington.
The Devils are 74-78-8 all-time vs. the Capitals, including a 31-46-4 in the previous 81 games played in Washington.
Patrik Elias is the Devils’ all-time leading scorer vs. the Capitals with 21g-33a-54pts in 56 career games. Alex Ovechkin leads Washington’s skaters with 14g-21a-35pts in 30 games vs. New Jersey.
Brodeur is 40-17-4 with 6 ShO, a 2.31 goals-against average and .906 save-percentage in 62 appearances vs. Washington; Schneider’s start vs. the Caps on Jan. 24 was the first of his career.
Holtby is now 1-2-1 with a 3.53 GAA and .882 save % in four games, while Neuvirth is 4-2-3 with 1 ShO, a 2.06 GAA & .928 save % in nine games vs. New Jersey.
Patrik Elias, Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky were named to the Czech Republic’s Olympic roster on January 6. Jagr, who was a member of the country’s Gold Medal-winning team in 1998, will be competing in his fifth Olympic Games. He will become the eighth player in Olympic history to do so, joining Raimo Helminen (6, Fin.), Teemu Selanne (Fin.), Dieter Hegen (Ger.), Udo Kiessling (Ger.), Denis Perez (Fra.), Petter Thorenson (Nor.) & Jere Lehtinen (Fin.). Elias will be representing his country for the fourth time and Zidlicky for the third time. Damien Brunner was named to the Swiss team. He will be representing his country at the Olympics for the first time. The Czech Republic will play Sweden and Switzerland will face-off against Latvia on Tuesday.
Ryane Clowe needs eight points to reach 300 in his NHL career.
Adam Henrique needs six points to reach 100 in his NHL career.
Jaromir Jagr needs two goals to reach 700 in his NHL career.
Travis Zajac needs three assists to reach 200 in his NHL career.
Anton Volchenkov (lower body, two games missed) is day-to-day.
Total man-games lost to injury/illness: 210
Feb. 3: Activated defenseman Peter Harrold from Injured Reserve.
Feb. 1: Assigned forward Mike Sislo to Albany (AHL).
Jan. 31: Assigned defenseman Eric Gelinas to Albany. Recalled forward Mike Sislo from Albany.
Jan. 25: Assigned forward Joe Whitney to Albany.
Jan. 23: Recalled forward Joe Whitney from Albany.