Caps host New Jersey looking for fourth straight win

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Will the Capitals’ 3-2 overtime comeback win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday jump start a surge to the Southeast Division title? We’ll see what the carryover effect is when they host New Jersey at 7 p.m.

Goalie Michal Neuvirth is expected to make his fourth consecutive start. The Capitals have won his three previous starts. They are looking to extend their winning streak to four for the first time since starting the season 7-0.

The Devils are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference on 75 points. They lead the Caps by six points in the standings despite four consecutive losses. New Jersey lost 4-3 in overtime at Boston on Thursday night.

The Caps want to take advantage of New Jersey’s quick turnaround.

“I think it’s very crucial to get pucks in deep from the start, and hopefully we kind of wear them down and take it to them,” winger Joel Ward said.

The Devils have the interesting distinction of scoring (13) and allowing (13) the most short-handed goals in the NHL this season. 

Coach Dale Hunter won’t press his penalty-killers to look for short-handed scoring chances.

“You’ve still got to do your job,” he said. “If it’s there, it’s there. It happens when they make a mistake. They make a bad pass or fumble the puck and then it’s there for the attack. I’m more worried about our power play giving it up the way we’ve been giving up breakaways. We can’t take a lot of risks up top.”

The Caps Friday’s game in ninth place in the Eastern Conference by virtue of Winnipeg’s 7-0 win last night. The upside? The Jets beat division-leading Florida, keeping the Caps’ deficit at three points.

 

 

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