Game 2 Preview: Devils at Washington Capitals, 10/9/10

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The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (0-0-1) face off against the Washington Capitals (0-1-0). This is the first of four meetings between the two teams this season.

The Last Capitals Game: The Atlanta Thrashers defeated the Capitals, 4-2, last night in Atlanta. Ondrej Pavelec, the Thrashers starting goalie, collapsed only 2:25 into the first period, immediately silencing an excited crowd. Pavelec was taken off on a stretcher, and play resumed. Atlanta took the lead, 2-1, at 15:43 of the second period when newcomer Andrew Ladd beat goalie Michal NeuvirthEvander Kane scored the eventual game-winner on a penalty shot.

The Last Devils Game: The Dallas Stars defeated the Devils, 4-3, in overtime last night. The Devils ZIP Line got the Devils started early, with Travis Zajac and Zach Parise giving New Jersey an early 2-0 lead. But the Stars would respond, tying the game on a Loui Eriksson goal at 3:02 of the second period. Jason Arnott put the Devils ahead in the third period, but the Stars once again tied the game. Eriksson scored the game-winner at 1:36 of the overtime period for the win.

Last Season’s Matchup: For a full recap of last season’s matchup, check this post here. The Devils won three of four meetings last season. The Capitals won the most recent meeting, 4-1, on December 26. Alexander Ovechkin recorded a goal and two assists in that game.

Tonight’s Matchup: The Devils and Caps are both coming into tonight’s game disappointed with their season openers. The Devils had flashes of great play last night, but they cut their nose to spite their face. The team applied pressure offensively, but they didn’t play good defense. The defenders made several mistakes, giving the Stars great chances.

Both of these teams expect to be near the top of their divisions and the conference. It’s only the second game of the season, but both teams will want to bring their “A” game tonight. Look for the Devils to address some of the defensive lapses from last night’s game. New Jersey’s defenders played aggressively and took chances last night, chances that didn’t pay off. That’s the way it goes sometimes. Coach John MacLean won’t hold back, but expect the defense to play better tonight.

But the offense will have to get it done as well. The ZIP Line looked good, accounting for two of the three goals last night. But that was against a subpar Stars defense. The Caps are deeper, and the Devils offense will need to work to generate scoring chances. It was a great start last night, but we’ll see how they can respond to a tough road test on back-to-back games.

There was no morning skate today, so these line combinations are based off of last night’s game.

forwards

Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Ilya Kovalchuk

Patrick Elas – Jason Arnott – Jamie Langenbrunner

Brian Rolston – Dainius Zubrus – David Clarkson

Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond – Rod Pelley

defenseman

Henrik Tallinder – Andy Greene

Alexander Urbom – Anton Volchenkov

Colin White – Matt Taormina

Mark Fraser

netminder

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

Game time is 7 p.m., and you can catch the action on MSG Plus 2 or 660 WFAN.

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