Apr 4, 2014, 9:45 AM EST
NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the New Jersey Devils host the Washington Capitals at the Prudential Center at 7:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
People say desperate times call for desperate measures. If that’s the case tonight in Newark, the Devils and Capitals will both be reaching deep into their respective bags of tricks.
The Capitals are currently four points behind Columbus for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference and the Devils are five points back. Both teams need a win tonight to keep their fading hopes alive of reaching the playoffs and, likely, facing the Boston Bruins in the first round.
Both teams have had their issues lately.
For Washington, much of the grumbling has centered around Alex Ovechkin‘s struggles at even strength. The reigning league MVP went the month of March without an even-strength point and has been getting crushed for his league-low plus/minus rating of minus-36.
While Ovechkin has 48 goals this season, he’s done the bulk of his damage on the power play. If the Capitals are going to stick around in the playoff race, they have to find a way to get Ovechkin and the rest of the top line working 5-on-5.
For now, at least, he won’t have Jay Beagle centering his line as coach Adam Oates has put Mikhail Grabovski and Nicklas Backstrom with Ovechkin. It’s the ultimate “put all your eggs in one basket” move.
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The Devils have their own problems to worry about. Despite Cory Schneider having played outstanding for most of the season, he’s been cold lately. With Martin Brodeur there to back him up, that would ideally mean things stayed steady. Instead, Schneider’s play has been equal with Brodeur’s and that’s not a good thing considering the future Hall of Famer is nearing the end of his career.
What that’s meant for New Jersey is they’ve needed to score more goals. That task has been fine for the likes of Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, and Adam Henrique but contributions from others have been a bit scattered. Travis Zajac netting a hat trick against Florida was a good sign, but they need more and from many others.
One thing the Devils have to find a way to do is avoid going to the shootout. They’re 0-11 in shootouts this season and while they’ve lost three of the past four games, all three losses came in the skills competition.
The biggest “What if” question Devils players and fans could wind up asking themselves is, “What if they won half of those shootouts?” If they did, they’d be right in the mix for the postseason with Columbus and Detroit instead of desperately needing a win to stay in the hunt.
Dec 18, 2014, 8:34 AM EST
Thursday’s collection of links.
Dec 18, 2014, 2:25 AM EST
Vancouver has now lost a season-high five straight.
Dec 18, 2014, 2:05 AM EST
Chris Stewart is one name, which has been linked to Boston.
Dec 18, 2014, 1:40 AM EST
He’s even walking under his own power according to the report.
Dec 18, 2014, 12:45 AM EST
Calgary signed Bob Hartley to a multi-year extension Wednesday.
Dec 18, 2014, 12:15 AM EST
The Devils have lost five straight.
Dec 17, 2014, 11:45 PM EST
Boston snaps three game skid.
Dec 17, 2014, 11:15 PM EST
Jason Akeson was in on the action for the Flyers’ affiliate.
Dec 17, 2014, 10:41 PM EST
New Jersey has lost five straight on home ice.
Dec 17, 2014, 10:15 PM EST
New Jersey has now lost five straight.
Dec 17, 2014, 9:30 PM EST
Detroit ranks 30th this season in fighting majors.
Dec 17, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
Marc-Andre Fleury is unavailable Thursday.
Dec 17, 2014, 8:30 PM EST
He’s in his third season with the Wild.
Dec 17, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Jaskin recalled from the American Hockey League.
Dec 17, 2014, 7:20 PM EST
Boston looks to snap a three-game skid.
Dec 17, 2014, 6:35 PM EST
Has not played since Nov. 18.
Dec 17, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
Hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury Nov. 2.
Dec 17, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
Rivalry Night affair on NBCSN.
Dec 17, 2014, 5:25 PM EST
It’s the first time the league has made a fine public for embellishment.
Dec 17, 2014, 4:53 PM EST
Currently has Calgary in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase.
- Mark Howe on his father’s health: ‘He’s back in the ballgame’ 1
- Holland: ‘I’m not against fighting’ 6
- Preds’ Neal fined for diving 18
- After surprising start, Flames sign Hartley to multi-year contract extension 5
- Update your wallcharts: Rangers confirm Brassard has mumps 11
- Video: Coyotes defeat Oilers with 0.3 seconds remaining in OT 3
- It’s ‘unlikely’ Duncan Keith has the mumps, says Blackhawks coach 3
- Bjugstad scores the winner as Panthers, Capitals make history with 20-round shootout 21
- Yep, Beau Bennett has the mumps 24
- (Video) PHT Extra: Would the Oilers really trade Taylor Hall? 11