Washington Capitals (11-10-4) at New Jersey Devils (10-12-4)
|Date & Time||Saturday December 6, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: New Jersey Devils -115 / Washington Capitals +104 --- Over/Under: 5
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It seemed like an eternity but the New Jersey Devils finally snapped their lengthy five game losing streak. There are still a lot of deep rooted issues with this hockey club but they certainly as bad as they have been playing recently and gaining some confidence from their win on Thursday night over the Toronto Maple Leafs could go a long way. Things got off to a good start when the Devils scored their first power play goal of the night off the stick of Eric Gelinas. It was the defenseman’s third goal of the season and Gelinas has been in the doghouse a little bit with head coach Pete Deboer, but if he can continue to contribute on the power play he should be a valuable asset for this club. In the second period the two teams alternated goals but it was Mike Cammalleri chipping in with his 11th of the season with the man advantage to give New Jersey a 3-2 lead heading into the third. Steve Bernier and Adam Henrique added goals to finish the scoring and Cory Schneider made 29 saves to pick up his 10th win of the season. Stephen Gionta also scored for the Devils. Now it’s going to be about whether or not this hockey club can sustain this type of play moving forward. The Devils have already dug themselves a bit of hole to start the year so they need to put a bit of a winning streak together. If the Devils are going to make a run at the playoffs they’re going to need every aspect of their game to improve. Offensively the team looks inept at times and Schneider has been a bit of a disappointment as well. The defense really struggles in their own zone and the penalty kill has been a mess since the start of the season. Deboer seems confident that his club is going to turn it around and a game like Wednesday can do a lot for a team’s psyche moving forward.
The Washington Capitals are a very similar club to the New Jersey Devils right now. Both of these teams have been very successful for a long time and both have had their struggles over the last few season. The biggest difference between the two is that the Capitals still have an elite superstar in Alex Ovechkin, but some in Washington would argue that does more harm than good. After a good start to the season the Capitals have been very up down since. When they lose it always seems to turn into a multiple game losing streak and their winning streaks are few and far between. Thursday night in Carolina the club snapped a two game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes. Jay Beagle’s first period goal came 2:19 into the opening frame to give Washington a lead that would hold up until early in the third. Carolina tied the game early in the final period but Eric Fehr’s goal with under five minutes remaining proved to be the game winner. Washington’s discipline was a big factor in this one as the Capitals didn’t allow a power play attempt on the night. The Capitals forced the Hurricanes into 17 turnovers on the night while committing just three of their own. Ovechkin is seventh in the league in goals scored but the Capitals really need to find some more secondary scoring if they’re going to be a playoff club.
New Jersey is a slight favorite in this game but this one is virtually a coin flip. Both teams have had their struggles but both can put solid games together from time to time. If the Devils play as well as they did on Wednesday they’re going to give the Capitals trouble in this one, but getting Washington on home ice at plus money against a team that has really struggled is hard to pass up.