Washington Capitals (34-29-13) at New Jersey Devils (32-28-16)
7:00 PM ET • Prudential Center • NBC Sports Network, News Radio 880 WCBS
New Jersey will have an optional skate his morning. Head Coach Peter DeBoer will be available in the interview hallway just after 10:30 AM.
The Devils are 8-6-3=19pts in 17 games since the returning from the Olympic break following Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss at Buffalo.
New Jersey improved to 11-3-3=25pts in its last 17 games at Prudential Center with a 6-3 win over Florida on Monday. Four of the team’s remaining six games will be played at The Rock.
The Devils are 14-9-4=32pts vs. the Metropolitan Division this season, including 6-4-3=15pts at home.
Tonight’s contest opens the club’s 21st of 22 sets of back-to-back games. New Jersey is now 8-9-3 in first games and 9-6-5 in second games when playing on consecutive dates.
The Devils are averaging 3.0 goals per-game since returning from the break, after averaging just 2.3 over their first 59 games of the season.
The club’s power play unit has converted 7/31 (22.3%) attempts over the last ten home games and is seventh in the NHL overall (46/227, 20.3%).
New Jersey’s top-ranked penalty-kill (212/244, 86.9%) was 2/3 on Tuesday and is 34/38 (89.5%) over the last 11 games.
The Devils are allowing just 25.5 shots per-game, which is the fewest in the NHL.
New Jersey’s 8.1 PIM per game are the fewest in the league.
Head Coach Peter DeBoer won his 99th game as coach of the Devils on Monday vs. Florida and now trails Doug Carpenter by just one win for second place. Jacques Lemaire is first with 276 victories.
Cory Schneider is expected to start in goal tonight. He made 25 saves (+ 5/8 SO) in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss at Buffalo and fell to 14-14-11 on the year. Schneider is fifth in the NHL with a 2.07 goals-against average.
Dainius Zubrus scored on Tuesday at Buffalo, his first since January 30 at Dallas, snapping a 20-game goalless streak.
Tuomo Ruutu (PP) scored his second goal since joining the Devils on Tuesday at Buffalo and now has points in back-to-back games (1g-1a-2pts).
Michael Ryder and Damien Brunner earned the assists on Zubrus’s tally on Tuesday. Brunner now has 1g-2a-3pts over the last five games.
Andy Greene collected the primary assist on Ruutu’s marker on Tuesday and now has 8g-24a-32pts on the season; he’s just 5pts shy of his career-high (6g-31a-37pts, 2009-10).
Marek Zidlicky also assisted on Ruutu’s goal and has 7g-10a-17pts with the man-advanage, tying Patrik Elias (4g-13a) and Eric Gelinas (5g-12a) for the team lead.
Mike Sislo, who was recalled from Albany (AHL) earlier in the day, returned to the lineup on Tuesday for the first time since January 14 at Montreal.
Jaromir Jagr posted a season-high with 1g-3a-4pts on Monday vs. Florida. He scored the 705th goal of his career and is now just three behind Mike Gartner (708g) for sixth-place in NHL history. He’s also just 2a behind Gordie Howe (1,049a) for eighth-place and just 3pts behind Steve Yzerman (692g-1,063a-1,755pts) for sixth place all-time.
Adam Henrique scored his team-leading 25th goal of the season last Saturday at the New York Islanders. He has 11 goals in 17 games since returning from the Olympic break on February 25, which ranks fifth (tie) in the league in that span.
Patrik Elias is 13th (tie) in the NHL with 6g-12a-18pts since play resumed following the Winter Olympic break.
Devils vs. Capitals
Tonight’s game between the Devils and Capitals is the fourth/final meeting between the teams this season, and the second to be played at Prudential Center.
New Jersey leads the season series 2-1-0 following a 3-0 loss at Verizon Center on February 8. Jaromir Jagr has 1g-4a-5pts to lead the Devils, while Jason Chimera (2g) is among five players with two points each for the Caps. Martin Brodeur (1-0-0, 3.95 GAA & .818 save %) and Cory Schneider (1-1-0, 1.01 GAA & .964 save %) have split the goaltending duties for New Jersey, while Braden Holtby (1-0-1, one ShO, 2.49 GAA & .919 save %) has started two games for Washington.
The Devils are 74-79-8 all-time vs. the Capitals, but are 43-32-4 in their previous 79 home games.
Patrik Elias is the Devils’ all-time leading scorer vs. the Capitals with 21g-33a-54pts in 57 career games. Alex Ovechkin leads Washington’s skaters with 14g-22a-36pts in 31 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 two starts this season were the first of his career vs. the Caps.
Holtby is now 2-2-1 with one ShO, a 2.82 GAA and .903 save % in five games, while Jaroslav Halak is 3-3-1 with one Sho, 2.63 GAA & .913 save % in nine games vs. New Jersey.
Steve Bernier needs nine points to reach 200 in his NHL career.
Damien Brunner needs two games to reach 100 in his NHL career.
Ryane Clowe needs six assists to reach 200 in his NHL career.
Patrik Elias needs eight goals to reach 400 in his NHL career.
Ryane Clowe (upper body, one game missed) is out tonight.
Bryce Salvador (lower body, four games missed) is out tonight.
Total man-games lost to injury/illness: 237
Apr. 1: Recalled forward Mike Sislo from Albany (AHL).
Mar. 31: Recalled defenseman Adam Larsson from Albany (AHL) under emergency conditions.
Mar. 18: Recalled forward Tim Sestito from Albany.
Mar. 5: Acquired forward Tuomo Ruutu from Carolina in exchange for forward Andrei Loktionov and a conditional third-round choice in the 2017 NHL Entry draft.