Metropolitan Showdown in Washington
The Washington Capitals (20-9-4) welcome the cellar-dwelling New Jersey Devils to town on Thursday (7 PM ET on NBCSN). Both teams are coming off of losses following the holiday break; the Capitals came up short in a 4-3 game against the Islanders, while the Devils fell 5-2 to the Penguins. The Caps currently sit fifth in the Eastern Conference and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. That success is largely due to strong team defense, as they rank 3rd in the NHL, giving up a measly 2.06 goals per game on average. Goaltender Brayden Holtby has benefitted from his team’s defensive mindset, posting a 1.98 goals against average and .929 save percentage.
The New Jersey Devils (13-15-7) currently sit last in the Metropolitan Division and second land in the Eastern Conference. The Devils have only won once in their last 10 games and have struggled to find consistency at both ends of the ice so far in 2016-17. No Devils player has reached double digits in goals, and only two players have more than 20 points: Travis Zajac (8 goals, 15 assists) and Taylor Hall (8 goals, 14 assists). Look for Washington to run away with this one.