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Devils aim to extend Capitals' losing streak

Friday, 01.24.2014 / 1:02 PM

CAPITALS (22-20-8) at DEVILS (21-19-11)

TV: CSN-DC, MSG PLUS

Last 10: Washington 2-5-3; New Jersey 4-3-3

Season series: This is the second of four games. The New Jersey Devils won 5-4 on Dec. 21, 2013, when defenseman Andy Greene scored 43 seconds into overtime at Verizon Center.

Big story: Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin will miss a second straight game. Ovechkin, according to The Washington Post, sustained a lower-body injury at some point on Sunday against the New York Rangers. The Capitals are 13-9-2 all time when their captain has missed a game since he entered the NHL in 2005. Ovechkin, who leads the League with 35 goals, skated briefly Friday morning and remains day-to-day. The Capitals have scored just seven goals (three by Ovechkin) in the past six games. Still, Ovechkin did miss the first two games of November with an injured right shoulder and the team won both games.

"We missed Ovi a little bit [Tuesday], more than I thought we would because we've handled it before," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "We generated a lot of chances; other guys have got to finish. He can't be the only guy."

Team Scope:

Capitals: Washington is winless in six games (0-4-2) and has lost four straight games in regulation for the first time since Nov. 25-Dec. 1, 2011. They've been outscored 19-7 during the six-game slide. The Capitals have been limited to one or zero goals in five of the past six games, the first time that has happened in 12 years. In the shutout loss to the Senators, defensemen Mike Green and John Carlson led the way with five shots apiece. Green logged a team-high 26:40 in ice time.

"When you win, it's because you deserve to win generally. And if you're not winning, do something extra," forward Brooks Laich said. "Well done is better than well said. If you want to talk about it, go show it on the ice. Guys have tried it. The locker room, nobody's yelling and screaming in here. We have to prove it to our teammates, prove it to yourself, the organization. We have to be better as players."

Michal Neuvirth gets the start in goal Friday.

Devils: The Devils, who play the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium on Sunday in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC), snapped a three-game winless streak on home ice with a 7-1 victory against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday at Prudential Center. The seven-goal outburst was the highest total in a game for the Devils since April 10, 2011, when they beat the New York Islanders 7-1.

Damien Brunner, who was activated from injured reserve after missing the previous 14 games with a sprained right knee, returned to the lineup against the Blues and produced a season-high three points (one goal, two assists), his sixth multiple-point game of the season. Brunner has five goals and eight points in the past six games he has played.

"Maybe it was the hockey gods rewarding me for the hard work put in the last two weeks [to get back on the ice]," Brunner said. "I guess it's a good confidence boost for me."

The Devils called up forward Joe Whitney and assigned forward Reid Boucher to Albany of the American Hockey League. Whitney is skating on a line with Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr.

Who's hot: Ovechkin had three goals in his previous four games before sitting out Tuesday. ... Devils goaltender Cory Schneider, who is expected to start Friday, is 3-0-2 with a 0.96 goals-against average and .966 save-percentage in his past five starts and ranks second in the NHL with a 1.88 GAA.

Injury report: Ovechkin (lower body) is day-to-day and defenseman Jack Hillen (tibia surgery) is out for the Capitals. … Devils forward Adam Henrique (hand) left the game Tuesday after blocking a shot but was back at practice by Thursday and is expected to play. Defenseman Peter Harrold (foot) is about ready to return off injured reserve.

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