The New Jersey Devils have been in town since Wednesday, and Saturday is the final time they play the Washington Capitals this season. In the second half of this Verizon Center back-to-back, the Caps know what to expect.
“We know what we’re going to get with them,” forward Matt Hendricks said. “We know what type of team they are; they’re very disciplined, they play hard, they play a very strong system. For us we’re going to try to come back and take momentum. It would’ve been nice to get the win the other night, but we didn’t, so we need to focus in and try to take advantage of them right away, take advantage of them early in the first and keep momentum throughout the game.”
Defenseman John Carlson said it almost feels like a “mini playoff series.”
“Some guys probably tend to get under your skin a little bit more and it works either in your favor or against you,” Carlson said. “And I think that we got to make sure … that it’s working in our favor.”
Braden Holtby gets his sixth straight start in goal. The Devils, who play the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, are giving backup Johan Hedberg the nod instead of future Hall of Famer Marty Brodeur.
“If you look at his numbers the last two years, not much of a drop off [from Brodeur to Hedberg],” said Caps coach Adam Oates, who was an assistant under Peter DeBoer in New Jersey last season. “He’s a really, really good goalie and that’s going to be part of our meeting.”
Hebderg has a 1.72 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in four appearances.
Here’s a look at the Caps’ lines and pairings, as Mike Green misses his third straight game:
Jason Chimera - Mike Ribeiro - Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer
Wojtek Wolski - Mathieu Perreault - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Joey Crabb
Karl Alzner - Tomas Kundratek
John Erskine - John Carlson
Jeff Schultz - Tom Poti