NEWARK, NJ - Check back around noon for a full pre-game report.
-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com
DEVILS (11-17-5) at CAPITALS (24-6-5)
TV: 7:00 p.m. ET; Televised on MSG+
Tonight's game is the first of four meetings between the two teams this season.
Last season, the Capitals took three out of four but New Jersey's lone win was a big one, 6-0 at Prudential Center.
Nico Hischier led the Devils in scoring against the Capitals with three points despite only playing in two of the four games.
Nicklas Backstrom had six points (four goals) in four games to lead the Capitals while Alex Ovechkin had four points (one goal).
Devils team scope:
The Devils have won each of their last two games, by scores of 2-1 (Saturday at Arizona) and 3-1 (Tuesday at home against Anaheim). It is the team's first instance of back-to-back wins since November 15 and 16 (versus Pittsburgh and Montreal).
Kyle Palmieri leads the Devils with 21 points through 33 games (13 goals, 8 assists). Nico Hischier is second on the club with six goals and 17 points in 28 contests.
Mackenzie Blackwood has a 2.77 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. Since November 23 -- a span of nine games -- Blackwood has a 2.20 GAA and .930 save percentage.
Capitals team scope:
The Capitals are the number one team in the entire NHL, three points clear of the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues with 53 points. On the road, they're an even more impressive 15-3-1 with 15 of their 24 total victories being away from home.
Washington, however, has lost two of their last four games -- both to the Columbus Blue Jackets. In their last game, they dropped a 3-0 decision in Columbus this past Monday. Prior to that, they had won six straight.
Defenseman John Carlson is tearing up the NHL with 45 points in 35 games. Carlson leads the Caps in points and also in plus/minus. He leads all NHL blueliners in points and ranks seventh in the entire NHL in points.
By the Numbers:
In six of their last eight games, the Capitals have allowed two goals or less. They rank 10th in the NHL in GAA at 2.80 but within their own division, the Metropolitan, they're fifth.
Washington is 15-1-3 when scoring first in a game. Although the Capitals lead the NHL and the Devils rank 30th, they have identical 3-3-1 records against the Metropolitan Division this season. The Caps have pounded the Atlantic Division and Pacific Division with a combined 18-1-4 record against those two divisions, greatly contributing to their current standing in the League.
The last time the Devils won three straight games was December 27, 29 and 31 against Boston, Carolina and Vancouver. They have an opportunity to do so tonight.
Devils -Matt Tennyson (upper body) is on IR; Louis Domingue (lower body) is on IR