The Washington Capitals will aim to continue their dominance of the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night when they open a six-game, 12-day road trip in Newark, N.J.
The Capitals have emerged victorious in each of their past six trips to the Garden State, including a 6-3 win on Oct. 24. All told, Washington is 13-2-1 in its past 16 games in New Jersey and 26-3-3 in the past 32 overall vs. the Devils dating to the 2015-16 season.
Six different players scored in that October encounter for Washington, including superstar captain Alex Ovechkin.
Scoring a goal is nothing new for Ovechkin, of course. The three-time Hart Trophy recipient has done so 791 times in his decorated NHL career.
Ovechkin was at it again on Friday, joining T.J. Oshie in collecting a goal and an assist to lead the Capitals to a 3-0 victory over the Calgary Flames.
“When you win, you always have confidence. Sometimes you play well, but you can’t win the game, and that’s frustrating a little bit,” Ovechkin said. “But the situation right now, we just have to collect the points. It doesn’t matter how: lucky, bad bounce. We just have to collect the points and try to get as many as possible.”
Oshie has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past two games after missing the previous 11 with a lower-body injury.
“He’s one of our leaders on the ice and off the ice. He brings a lot of energy,” Ovechkin said of Oshie.
Washington has won two in a row for the first time since Oct. 22-24.
“We’re still very confident in the group we got here,” goaltender Darcy Kuemper said, per The Washington Post. “We’re definitely not happy with how the season started, but we’re confident that we’re going to turn it around. … The last two games have been a step in that direction.”
The Devils responded from seeing their franchise record-tying 13-game winning streak end Wednesday by posting a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres two nights later.
“I thought we answered (the bell). We came out really well and got the lead,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. “We talked about not losing two games in a row and got a real good team effort.”
Jack Hughes, Jesper Boqvist and Tomas Tatar each scored a goal in the second period for the Devils. Yegor Sharangovich notched an assist to extend his points streak to five games (three goals, three assists).
Tatar also tallied in the previous meeting with Washington.
Vitek Vanecek likely will be in the crease to face his former team on Saturday. He relieved Mackenzie Blackwood and stopped three of four shots in the third period in the previous encounter with the Capitals.
With New Jersey’s next win, Ruff will become the fifth NHL coach with 800 victories. He has 571 with the Sabres (1997-2012), 165 with the Dallas Stars (2013-17) and 63 in two-plus seasons with the Devils.
–Field Level Media