Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!

Caps in New Jersey B2B Tomorrow vs TB

March 19, 2019, 10:26 AM ET [3 Comments]
Marcus Boutilier
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Tonight in New Jersey is must-win. Well, maybe not quite so dramatic, but, with just 10 games remaining before they look to defend their Stanley Cup championship, the Washington Capitals are in a positioning battle in the heated race for the Metro Division. Currently tied with the New York Islanders at 91 points for first and three points up on 3rd place Pittsburgh, it’s important the Caps don’t let off the gas pedal against teams below them in the standings and tonight vs New Jersey Devils is a game the Caps need to win, if for anything else, confidence going into the post-season. Tonight’s game being the first of a back-to-back set as the NHL leading Tampa Bay Lightning make their first visit to DC since last spring tomorrow night.

Coming off a hard-fought 6-3 loss to those very Lightning last Saturday, the Caps have now lost 2 of 3 games since a season-high 7-game winning streak was halted vs Pittsburgh last Tuesday. They beat the Devils in their last matchup 3-0 on March 8 as Braden Holtby recorded the shutout. It was a hard fought game as Andre Burakovsky scored early and the Caps only nursed a one-goal lead into the third period when Nicklas Backstrom scored and Lars Eller added an empty net goal to seal the win. Holtby had to be sharp at times as the undermanned Devils, who were ravished with injuries, played the Caps well as they stifled the neutral zone.

Nick Jensen continues to provide the Caps with prompt puck moving and stability on the back end since his trade to DC. His ability to play the boards and get the puck moving quickly with his legs or by passing is a great asset.

Last season, the Caps depth scoring was a major factor in their eventual win during the playoffs, and this season they may have even more. Ovechkin (49), Evgeny Kuznetsov (27), and Backstrom (21) were the only three to break the 20-goal mark in 2017-18, but this season as many as seven could hit that mark. Jakub Vrana (21) and Tom Wilson (20) are the latest Caps to join TJ Oshie (21) and Ovechkin (48) with Brett Connolly (19) and both Evgeny Kuznetsov and Backstrom (18) easily within reach. It would be career highs for Connolly, Vrana, and Wilson.

Speaking of Vrana, it’s going to be interesting contract negotiations with him this summer, though he is a Restricted Free-Agent. No doubt, GM Brian MacLellan wants to lock him up. His speed is becoming more and more a factor as he is driving opposing defenses back.

The Devils are still undermanned due to injuries as they have been most of the year. 2018 MVP Taylor Hall remains out with as many as seven other starters possibly not in.

With the back-to-back games and with it being Tampa Bay tomorrow, I expect Pheonix Copley to get the call in the net for the Caps.

Ovechkin’s 48 goals still lead the NHL goal-scoring race by five over Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl who scored his 43rd in the Oilers last game.

Game time tonight is 7:30 Pm from Prudential Center in New Jersey.

Capital Gain:

The Capitals announced they have signed college free agent Joe Snively. A local product he grew up as a fan of the Capitals.

Riley Barber continues his hot season with the Hershey Bears...

Join the Discussion: » 3 Comments » Post New Comment
More from Marcus Boutilier
» Game 7 - Caps can become only team to make second round for 5 years running
» Can Caps clinch on the Road? Game 6
» Best of three - Game 5 Tonight Caps better TakeWarning - No Oshie
» Game 4 - Caps need to be better. Lineup Changes announced
» Caps Up 2-0 Head into Hurricane Country - Game 3