Both the Capitals and Devils were happy with the deadline deal of Jason Arnott for David Steckel and a draft pick. But when the two teams faced off Friday night in Newark, N.J., they did so with both out.
Arnott, who’s listed as “week-to-week” with an undisclosed injury, was expected to miss this game – as coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters the big center would be out for at least matchups with Montreal, Detroit and New Jersey.
But Steckel’s late scratch came as a surprise. No immediate official reason was given for his absence, though an upper-body injury was reported. Adam Mair replaced him in the Devils’ lineup.
Steckel is scoreless with a minus-1 rating in eight games with the Devils.
The Caps were expecting to have John Erskine (flu) back, but the defenseman was scratched yet again. Tyler Sloan took his place.
Washington did get good news Friday night with the return of Nicklas Backstrom, who had been out with a fractured left thumb.
Michal Neuvirth got the nod in net against New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur on retro night, as the Devils wore their old Christmas colors uniforms.