Washington Capitals vs Devils: Better the Devils you know

Alex Ovechkin, Zdeno Chara, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Ovechkin, Zdeno Chara, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals get a matchup with one of only two teams they have not lost to in 2021, against the New Jersey Devils.

The Washington Capitals have been on a run of late, after having won 5 out of the last 6 and 7 out of 10. Surprisingly they have fallen behind a red hot New York Islanders team, also the only other team in the East that the Capitals have not lost against. With a matchup against the New Jersey Devils, the Capitals have a matchup that should help them keep pace or tie up with the Islanders atop the East Division.

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This will come without the help of Tom Wilson thanks to a 7 game suspension. Luckily the Capitals should be able to handle missing him, while he has been having a great year with 7 goals and 10 assists for a 0.81 P/GM, and he has accounted for 3 assists in the 3 games against the Devils. Good for the Capitals they will be able to lean on a number of other contributors to help offset the loss of Wilson, first one that comes to mind is Jakub Vrana who has been favored with good luck against the Devils.

In 3 games against the Devils, Vrana is at a 1.33 P/GM rate with 2 goals and 2 assists. Another force against the Devils has been TJ Oshie (1 P/GM, 2 G and 1 A), NIcklas Backstrom (1 P/GM, 1 G and 2 A), and Alex Ovechkin (0.66 P/GM, 2G). So while his physical presence will be missed the Capitals will be in good hands. Just so happens each of these players held key roles in getting the most recent win against the Philadelphia Flyers, in making their names onto the scoresheet.

At the forefront of these is again Alex Ovechkin who gathered his 714th career goal against the Flyers. Alex remains solely in 7th place on the all time list, leaving him 3 more away from tying Phil Esposito in 6th place. Another name to again hold up with some reverence is IIya Samsonov after he shutdown the the Flyers following an early goal, he finished with 36 stops for 0.973 SV%. These are two of the main pillars of the team we were looking to have big years and thanks to being placed on the Covid list early have struggled to find their footing.

It would be smart of the Capitals to lean on the hot hand of Samsonov against the Devils as he has 4 games instead of the 1 game that Vanecek has against them. In those 4 games, Samsonov is 3-1 with a 0.910 SV% and 2.53 GAA. The Capitals can’t go wrong since the Devils have been riding a rough patch which has only seen them win 2 out of the last 10 games. The Devils may be running without one of their best as well with Nico Hirchier as he is sitting in the concussion protocol with a sinus fracture.

More. Washington Capitals: Top 3 studs against the Flyers. light

Will the Capitals keep rolling without the presence of Wilson? Who else will be stepping up for both scoring and physical presence? Can the Washington Capitals continue their hot streak at home? Here is how to find out:

Date: March 9, 2021
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: Capital One Arena
TV Broadcast: NBC Sports Washington
Radio: Caps Radio 24/7
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