Dec 23 2011; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17) celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals during the second period at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Alan Maglaque-USA TODAY Sports

Devils - Capitals: What To Watch For

Three days following a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, the New Jersey Devils (2-0-0) will look to move its season-opening winning streak to three games tonight, as they host the Washington Capitals (0-3-0). New Jersey is playing its second consecutive game before hitting the road to take on the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins.  Tonight’s game is slated for 7 p.m. at Prudential Center. Here are the game notes:

Lineup change: As indicated from practice on Thursday, forwards Mattias Tedenby and Dainius Zubrus will be flipping places on the first two lines for the Devils. Zubrus will be returning to the place he has spent most of his Devils’ career, alongside Patrik Elias. Tedenby will move up to play with Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac in an attempt to jolt the young Swede’s offensive numbers.

Forward Krys Barch will be making his debut for the Devils tonight, starting at right wing on the fourth line in place of Cam Janssen, who is a healthy scratch.

Adam Returning: Capitals head coach Adam Oates will be making his return to New Jersey tonight, after serving as the Devils assistant and special teams coach the last two seasons. Devils head coach Pete DeBoer and general manager Lou Lamoriello have raved about Oates since his departure last summer, and earlier this week, DeBoer reiterated that, saying his head coaching job in Washington was “well deserved.”

Capital Problem: It’s been an ugly start in Washington as the Capitals have dropped their opening three games to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Winnipeg Jets, and the Montreal Canadiens. The poor start could be the result from a number of factors, but all signs lead to Alex Ovechkin, who has put up just one assist and no goals through the first three games. But, Washington will look to end that skid tonight, so the Devils better be sure not to overlook a team that took the New York Rangers to game seven in the Eastern Conference semifinal last spring.

First Place: A win would cement the Devils in first place, alone, for the first time this season. The Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday to drop to 2-1, opening the door for New Jersey to be the only Atlantic division team to start 3-0.


Tags: Game Preview New Jersey Devils Washington Capitals

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