Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Washington Capitals
Throughout the rest of the offseason, The Devils’ Den will take an in-depth look at the Devils 2010-2011 schedule. New Jersey has made the postseason 13 years straight, and won the Atlantic Division during the 2009-2010 season. This year, the team will look to continue their impressive playoff streak and finish near the top of the Eastern Conference. A few days ago, I previewed the team’s games against the Dallas Stars. Today we take a look at an Eastern Conference power – the Washington Capitals.
Devils vs. Capitals – Historical Data
The Devils are 77-87-13-1 all-time against the Capitals. The team averages 2.96 goals per game against their Eastern Conference opponents, but they allow 3.31 goals per game. Last season, the Devils and Caps faced each other four times, with the Devils going 3-1-0 against them. The Devils won the first meeting, 3-2, on October 12, 2009. Mike Green and Mike Knuble scored first period goals to give the Caps an early 2-0 lead. But the Devils answered back, scoring one in the second and third to tie the game. The game went to a shootout, where Jamie Langenbrunner scored the winning goal for the Devils.
The Devils took the second matchup of the season, defeating Washington, 3-2. Brian Rolston tied the game at one apiece in the second period, and the Devils used two third period powerplay goals from Niclas Bergfors to power past the Caps. The Devils took three in a row from the Caps ten days later, when they beat them, 5-2. The Capitals, as they had during the season series, scored first. Mathieu Perreault scored at 5:02 of the first to give the Caps an early 2-0 lead. But the Devils came roaring back, scoring five unanswered goals to win the game.
The Capitals denied the Devils of a season sweep, defeating New Jersey, 4-1, on December 26, 2009. Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring at 4:09 of the first period, and Matt Bradley scored the game-winner at 13:54 of the period.
Capitals vs. Devils – This Season’s Matchup
The Caps and Devils will again face each other four times during the regular season. The Caps return virtually the same lineup as last season, except in net. The team decided not to re-sign Jose Theodore, their starting goalie the past two seasons. The Devils will still have to contend with the likes of Ovechkin, Green and Nicklas Backstrom. The Caps have been near the top of the Eastern Conference for the past few years, and that figures to continue this season. Despite their sub-.500 record against Washington, the Devils played them really well last year. Recording another six points against the Caps during the regular season would be nice to see, especially since they will probably directly compete with Washington for the top spot in the conference.