Friday, January 25, 2013
W2W4: Devils vs. Capitals
By Katie Strang
At a glance: The Devils knocked off a winless Flyers squad Tuesday to preserve their unblemished record, and will face yet another desperate team in the 0-3-0 Capitals on Friday. Coming off a wretched 4-1 loss to the Canadiens on Thursday, the Caps are aiming to secure their first win of the season against the reigning Eastern Conference champions.
Familiar foe: The Devils will face former assistant coach Adam Oates when the two teams square off. Oates -- who was also inducted into the Hall of Fame, in addition to being named head coach of the Capitals -- spent the past two seasons behind the bench as an assistant in New Jersey. Devils coach Pete DeBoer said the Caps have a “helluva coach” and that he warned the Devils that the Capitals are a “dangerous team.”
Back to Brodeur: The Devils will have Martin Brodeur back in net after the 40-year-old posted wins in his first two starts. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer has surrendered only one goal on 43 shots faced through the first two games of the season.
Goaltending woes: While the Devils boast one of the all-time greats in goal, the Capitals are still trying to sort out their issues in net. After a terrific playoff performance last spring, 23-year-old Braden Holtby surrendered an unsightly 10 goals in his first two starts, prompting Oates to give Michal Neuvirth the nod on Thursday. Oates will turn Neuvirth again Friday, hoping he can stop the bleeding and turn things around.
Ovi MIA: Superstar Alex Ovechkin is off to a lackluster start for the Capitals. The 27-year-old forward, who spent the lockout playing in his native Russia, has been limited to only one point in the first three games of the season.
Henrique nearing return: 2012 Calder Trophy finalist Adam Henrique is getting closer to his return from a hand injury. The 22-year-old center, one of the team’s clutch performers in last year's playoffs, skated with the team Friday morning for the first time since undergoing surgery on his thumb. DeBoer said Henrique is still 7-to-10 days from making his season debut.
Krys-tal clear: According to the Devils' lines in Friday morning’s skate, veteran forward Krys Barch will play his first game of the season Friday. The 32-year-old winger, who signed with New Jersey as a free agent this summer, spent the bulk of last season with the Panthers, where he racked up 92 penalty minutes.