The New Jersey Devils will try their luck in Washington on Friday night, as they attempt to stop the bleeding on the ice. Their four-game winning streak to open the season has gone out the window. They had a nice start that, but drawing any conclusions after a couple of weeks of play is a fallacy. The Devils are a 9-10-4 hockey team, so they’re not sitting in the basement by any means, but are getting pushed around recently. Since November 17th, the Devils have won just one game with a record of 1-5.
Taylor Hall has to get a hold of this team and get them back playing solid hockey. Hall had a breakout season last year, as he captured the Hart Trophy with the Devils. He never lived up to expectations in Edmonton, though found a revival in New Jersey. Hall currently has 7 goals and 17 assists with a +/- of -5. He leads the team with 24 points, while Kyle Palmieri has proven valuable with 21 points.
There is a drop-off once you move down their roster, though. A lack of depth is killing this team, with not many reliable facilitators on the team. Blake Coleman is a good player, along with Travis Zajac, but they aren’t nearly talented enough to support Hall and Palmieri. Zajac is 33 years old. He’s a decent role player, yet he is tied for 3rd in points on the team. Zajac could help a team who needs a veteran presence and are expected to go places, but he shouldn’t be depended on as a top point getter on a roster. He has been a member of the Devils throughout his entire career, which goes back to 2006.
While the Devils are struggling to find a groove, the Capitals have found theirs with a nice stretch of success. Washington will look for their seventh win in a row against the Devils on Friday night. Their latest win was a 4-1 win over the Islanders on Monday, so they’ve had a breather and should be well rested for the Devils. Head below for our free Devils vs. Capitals pick from Capital One Arena in Washington.
N.J. Devils vs. Washington Capitals Pick
The Capitals are on a six-game winning streak and wins in seven of their last eight games. The recent success for the Capitals can be accredited to Braden Holtby. Defensively the Caps were getting torched over the first month of the season. Even a team with Alexander Ovechkin on it wasn’t going to win many games with their defence playing so poorly, including Holtby in net.
Holtby has been locked in, though, and the wins are beginning to show as a result. He’s allowed 2 or less goals in six of his previous seven appearances in net. Note that the Caps have been doing this all without Kuznetsov and Oshie. Two offensive weapons that they’ve depended on, though Washington has been doing just fine without them, at least so far. When it gets closer to the end of the season, they’re going to want to have those two healthy. There is a chance that Kuznetsov returns to the lineup this evening.
The Devils have been playing some sad hockey on the road this season. They have just 2 wins for a 2-9-1 record on the road. The numbers haven’t been good, with 2.33 goals scored per game and 4.17 goals allowed per game. Between Kinkaid and Schneider, their save percentage is 0.872 on the road. Neither have been able to take control and grab the reins in net.
Schneider has been the most disappointing with a 4.27 GAA and 0.863 save percentage. The Capitals have notched 3.42 goals per game and 2.5 against at home in Washington. The Devils are 3-13 in their last sixteen meetings with the Capitals and 1-6 in Washington. Ride the wave of momentum with the Capitals on Friday night.