New Jersey Devils Game 33 Preview: at Washington Capitals

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 31: Nico Hischier #13 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates his first period goal against the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center on December 31, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Oilers 6-5 in overtime. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils look to make it three straight wins as they take on the Washington Capitals.

Tale of the Tape

Record: 12-15-5 (29 points, 7th in Metro)

The Opponent: Washington Capitals (20-6-7)

FHN Site: One Timer

Puckdrop: 3:00 PM ET

Venue: Capital One Arena

Expected Goaltenders: Mackenzie Blackwood (7-6-3) vs. Ilya Samsonov (13-2-2)

Television Broadcasts: MSG+, NBCSWA

Washington Capitals

The Capitals are as good as ever. The ageless wonder that is Alexander Ovechkin has 24 goals and 26 assists in only 33 games this season. The 36-year-old forward has shown no indications on slowing down any time soon as he chases Wayne Gretzky’s goal record.

In their last time out, the Capitals scored three unanswered goals, including two from Ovechkin, to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov stopped 19 of 20 shots to record his 13th win of the season.

Washington is turning back to the 24-year-old goaltender today as the Capitals go for their 10th straight win over the Devils. In his third season, Samsonov has a 13-2-2 record with a 2.56 GAA and .909 save percentage.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils capped off 2021 with one of their wildest games of the year. The 6-5 overtime victory over the Edmonton Oilers gave the team consecutive victories for the first time since early November. Jack Hughes scored the overtime winner in his second consecutive three-point game.

Today, New Jersey faces another test as they try to defeat Washington for the first time since February 2020. For a young Devils team, a game against a perennial contender like Washington is a true measuring stick.

The Devils did a good job of staying out of the penalty box in their last game as Edmonton only had one power play. The formula needs to be the same against Washington. Ovechkin has made a living on the power play in his career and limiting his opportunities will be crucial for New Jersey.

Mackenzie Blackwood will get the start for New Jersey. Blackwood has not played particularly well in the last two games but he has done just enough to give the Devils consecutive wins.

Player to Watch: Nico Hischier

Nico Hischier scored a goal in Friday’s game to extend his point streak to four games. The Devils’ captain also did a good job of limiting the effectiveness of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl late in the game.

Hischier is quietly having a decent season with 18 points in 27 games. New Jersey will lean on the defensive skills of the 22-year-old as he will be tasked with limiting Ovechkin’s opportunities.

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