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game preview

Devils at Capitals preview

Bratt expected to return for New Jersey; Ovechkin goes for sole possession of 11th on goals list

by Harvey Valentine / Independent Correspondent

DEVILS (15-21-7) at CAPITALS (30-10-5)

7 p.m. ET; NBCSWA, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV


The Game

Alex Ovechkin can pass Teemu Selanne for sole possession of 11th place on the NHL all-time goals list when the Washington Capitals play the New Jersey Devils at Capital One Arena on Saturday.

Ovechkin, who is tied with Selanne with 684 goals, has 60 points (26 goals and 34 assists) in 54 games against the Devils.

Washington is 3-1-0 in past its past four games, and 14-6-0 in its past 20 games.

Forward Jesper Bratt is expected to return for the Devils after missing three games with a lower-body injury. New Jersey is 0-2-1 in its past three games after going 4-0-1 in its previous five games.


Players to watch 

Devils center Nico Hischier has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past seven games.

Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has nine points (four goals, five assists) in a seven-game point streak.


They said it

"I think tonight's a good test. We're playing a good team. We're in a bit of a slide. We had a good stretch. We've had success. Now, how are we going to respond to some adversity? And there's no better way than to do it against a really good team. We had the day off yesterday and a very productive meeting this morning. … It's a matter of going back to playing the right way." -- Devils coach Alain Nasreddine 

"I think they've played some better hockey since their coaching change. The (Taylor) Hall trade has also made them a little more blue collar in terms of the work that they do and how they go about things. They're a disciplined team that certainly isn't going to make it easy on you. They play every shift hard." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden


Devils projected lineup

Jesper Bratt -- Nico Hischier -- Kyle Palmieri

Blake Coleman -- Travis Zajac -- Nikita Gusev

Miles Wood -- Pavel Zacha -- Wayne Simmonds

Jesper Boqvist -- Kevin Rooney -- John Hayden

Andy Greene -- P.K. Subban

Damon Severson -- Sami Vatanen

Will Butcher -- Connor Carrick

Louis Domingue

Evan Cormier

Scratched: Mirco Mueller

Injured: Jack Hughes (upper body), Ben Street (upper body), Mackenzie Blackwood (upper body)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- T.J. Oshie

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Richard Panik

Brendan Leipsic -- Nic Dowd -- Garnet Hathaway

Jonas Siegenthaler -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Nick Jensen

Michal Kempny -- Radko Gudas

Braden Holtby

Ilya Samsonov

Scratched: Travis Boyd

Injured: None


Status report

The Devils recalled Cormier from Binghamton of the American Hockey League. … Street, a defenseman, was placed on injured reserve Saturday. … Hughes did not travel with the team. … The Capitals reassigned defenseman Christian Djoos to Hershey of the AHL.


Stat pack

The Devils are 1-7-1 in their past nine games at Capital One Arena. … Severson has three points (one goal, two assists) in his past two games. … The Capitals power play is 7-for-51 (13.7 percent) over the past 17 games. … Oshie has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past five games. … Backstrom has seven points (one goal, six assists) in a seven-game point streak.

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