Skip to content

NHL on NBCSN: Devils host Capitals as both try to keep playoff hope alive

Apr 4, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT

Washington Capitals v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

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.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $200. Starts Friday at 7pm ETHere’s the FanDuel link.

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Lightning go away from Drouin in Game 5

    Apr 25, 2015, 6:10 PM EDT

    New Jersey Devils v Tampa Bay Lightning Getty Images

    He made his postseason debut in Game 4.

  2. Video: Some skill, a lot of luck for Caps’ Holtby

    Apr 25, 2015, 5:20 PM EDT

    close

    Keep this bounce in mind in the third period.

  3. Burrows will travel with Canucks following Game 6

    Apr 25, 2015, 4:58 PM EDT

    Alex Burrows, Kris Letang Alex Burrows, Kris Letang

    He’s been ruled out of the series due to a rib injury.

  4. Here are the two finalists for Kraft Hockeyville

    Apr 25, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    HockeyVille

    Kudos to the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and the Decatur Civic Center in Decatur, Illinois.

  5. WATCH LIVE: Today’s Stanley Cup playoff action

    Apr 25, 2015, 2:55 PM EDT

    Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Strome AP

    New York, Nashville and Vancouver are all facing elimination today.

  6. Pens CEO says Johnston, Rutherford won’t be fired

    Apr 25, 2015, 2:25 PM EDT

    Mike Johnston Mike Johnston

    Both were in their first season with the hockey club.

  7. Report: Malkin invited to Worlds

    Apr 25, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Yevgeni Malkin #11 of Russia skates against Slovenia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Getty Images

    He helped Russia win gold last year.

  8. Avs’ Landeskog underwent wrist surgery

    Apr 25, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    Gabriel Landeskog Getty Images

    He declined an invite to the Worlds because of the injury.

  9. Jagr to play at World Championship

    Apr 25, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT

    Jaromir Jagr AP

    He announced his retirement from international competition nearly a year ago.

  10. Wild’s Dubnyk shakes off six-goal night, saves 36 as Blues pushed to brink

    Apr 25, 2015, 12:28 AM EDT

    Devan Dubnyk AP

    St. Louis couldn’t capitalize on an early lead.

Featured video

Plenty of pressure on Blues
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. Z. Kassian (2878)
  2. S. Weber (2468)
  3. K. Letang (2423)
  4. M. Fisher (2250)
  5. A. Burrows (2229)
  1. C. Ehrhoff (2029)
  2. S. Crosby (1933)
  3. T. Hamonic (1878)
  4. M. Giordano (1873)
  5. D. Carcillo (1811)