Tough Matchups Await New Jersey Devils This Weekend

(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils couldn’t ask for a tougher matchup weekend than the one they are about to go through against two of the best teams in the league.

This is a weekend that the New Jersey Devils will have to give everything they have in order to get something out of it. They are going up against two of the best teams in the entire league. They are going to visit the Washington Capitals and then come home to play the Tampa Bay Lightning. Each of these two teams was the Eastern Conference Division champions last year. They each have gotten to the record that they have in very different ways.

The Capitals are just in another year with more of the same. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and John Carlson amongst others lead the way for another dominant Capitals team. They are the real deal once again. It would surprise nobody if they go on to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years. The Devils usually do not fare well when they take on the Caps but they are hoping this time around it could be different.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, on the other hand, is in a very different situation. Last spring, they were upset in the first round of the playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets after being one of the very best regular-season teams in National Hockey League history. They seemed to be still recovering from that devastating defeat when the season began. They were at one point not even in the playoff picture pretty far into the season. It was a complete shock but they have turned it around and then some. They have won nine straight games to elevate them all the way into second place in the Atlantic Division.

With players like Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Victor Hedman leading the way it shouldn’t really shock anyone that they have bounced back. They have an elite player or two at every position and have tremendous depth. The Devils would have been better off catching the Lightning earlier in the season but instead, they have to play them while they’re red hot. The Bolts will have played a game against the Philadelphia Flyers by the time they get to Newark so it’ll be interesting to see if they can get there on a tremendous ten-game winning streak.

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It is a tough draw when you have two of the league’s best on back to back nights but it is what it is. The schedule makers have no sympathy for anyone because the National Hockey League is a tough one. This is a major test to the Devils strength, battle level, and will to win. If they are able to sweep the weekend that could be a very good sign of what is to come for them. It is unlikely that they make it to the playoffs this year but at this point, it would be a win if the right players continue to show tremendous strides in their game.