Jan 25, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Washington Capitals center Jay Beagle (83) hits New Jersey Devils right wing Dainius Zubrus (8) during the first period at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Let's Play Two: Devils at Capitals Preview

There’s no such thing as a doubleheader in the NHL (though a three-OT playoff game kind of counts), but the Washington Capitals are getting set for the next closest thing. The New Jersey Devils are coming to town for two games over three days, one of this season’s weird scheduling quirks.

As guests go, the Devils aren’t necessarily the type that the Caps would want to see come into town and stay for a bit. New Jersey is in second place in the East, just one point behind conference-leading Montreal (wait… what?) and the owners of a pretty decent 3-2-2 road record.

Yet a closer examination will show that the Devils have only scored one more goal than the Caps while playing one additional game, so this is a team that isn’t lighting it up on offense — especially recently, lighting the lamp just two times in their last two games.  The defense remains stingy, led by seemingly ageless goaltender Martin Brodeur, though he has struggled to the tune of over five goals per game during his last three visits to Washington.

The Caps unfortunately know all about running into the wrong goalie at the wrong time. The team seemed to (finally) have all guns firing on offense last week before coming up against the New York Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist, who frustrated them for most of the night on Sunday in a 2-1 Washington loss.

Defenseman Mike Green missed that game, perhaps one of the reasons why the hot Washington power play cooled off to 0-for-4 against New York. He skated earlier today but will be a game time decision to face the Devils.

New Jersey will be without forward Ryan Carter for both of the games at Verizon Center. Our sister FanSided blog Pucks and Pitchforks says that will mean a bigger role for Stefan Matteau.

It will be interesting to see if any chippiness develops tonight that might carry over until Saturday. Usually teams need to wait at least a few games to get revenge for slights both real and imagined, but these very strange back-to-back games mean the Caps and Devils can just put things on simmer for a day before having them boil back over again. With one team precariously clinging to its division lead and trying to bounce back from two losses, and the other attempting to claw its way out of the Eastern conference basement, you certainly can’t rule it out.

New Jersey Devils at Washington Capitals

Start time: 7 pm EST

TV: Comcast SportsNet DC (Capitals), MSG+ (Devils)

Tags: Mike Green New Jersey Devils Washington Capitals

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