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Capitals at Devils preview

Ovechkin one goal from tying for 13th all time; Blackwood starts for New Jersey

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

CAPITALS (42-23-7) at DEVILS (27-37-9)



The Game

Alex Ovechkin needs one goal to tie Brendan Shanahan for 13th place in NHL history when the Washington Capitals play the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

Ovechkin has 655 goals in 1,074 games; Shanahan had 656 goals in 1,524 games. The 33-year-old left wing, who has 81 points (48 goals, 33 assists) this season, needs two goals to join Hockey Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy as the only players in League history with at least eight 50-goal seasons. Gretzky and Bossy each did it nine times.

The Capitals are 8-2-0 in their past 10 games and are tied with the New York Islanders for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 10 games remaining.

Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood will start for the Devils, who are 2-7-1 in their past 10 games.


Players to watch

Capitals defenseman John Carlson has seven points (two goals, five assists) in a six-game point streak.

Devils forward Kenny Agostino has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past five games.


They said it

"It would be easy to look ahead toward (our game against the Tampa Bay Lightning) tomorrow and skip this one, but that would be a mistake because the Devils work and compete really hard and have nothing to lose." -- Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen

"It's important for me to finish the year strong. It gives me a better chance of being around next year. Every game is a tryout basically; you can't take nights off and have to be the best you can every single day." -- Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Brett Connolly

Andre Burakovsky -- Nic Dowd -- Chandler Stephenson

Michal Kempny -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Christian Djoos -- Nick Jensen

Pheonix Copley

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Brooks Orpik, Dmitrij Jaskin, Travis Boyd

Injured: None


Devils projected lineup

Blake Coleman -- Travis Zajac -- Stefan Noesen

Kenny Agostino -- Kevin Rooney -- Kyle Palmieri

Drew Stafford -- Blake Pietila -- Joey Anderson

Eric Tangradi -- Michael McLeod -- Kurtis Gabriel

Andy Greene -- Damon Severson

Will Butcher -- Connor Carrick

Egor Yakovlev -- Steven Santini

Mackenzie Blackwood

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Nick Lappin, John Quenneville, Sami Vatanen, Colton White

Injured: Nathan Bastian (upper body), Jesper Bratt (lower body), Taylor Hall (lower body), Nico Hischier (upper body), Mirco Mueller (upper body), Miles Wood (lower body), Pavel Zacha (upper body)


Status report

Djoos, a healthy scratch the past 10 games, will replace Orpik. ... Hischier, Zacha, Wood, Bastian, Vatanen and Mueller skated in a separate group. Hall and Bratt worked out off ice.


Stat pack

Ovechkin is tied with Phil Esposito for fifth on the NHL's all-time power-play goals list (246) and needs one to tie Luc Robitaille for fourth. ... Backstrom has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his past 10 games. ... Butcher has four assists in his past five games.

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