GAME: Washington Capitals (13-26-5-1) at New Jersey Devils (21-11-10-1).
TIME: Saturday, 1 p.m. EST.
Still playing without captain Scott Stevens, the New Jersey Devils look to
end a three-game home losing streak when they face the last-place Washington
New Jersey clearly isn't the same team without Stevens, who has missed the
last four games with an unknown ailment that might have been caused by a hit
earlier this season.
The rugged defenseman, said to be suffering from the flu, is expected to be
out another seven to 10 days.
New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello said Stevens has recovered from
the flu, but still isn't feeling well. After a series of tests, including blood
and neurological studies, everything has been ruled out -- except possible
post-concussion syndrome from an unknown hit.
"We're going to make sure he feels 100 percent," Lamoriello said. "He
will be the determining factor, and he doesn't feel that way right now."
In four games without Stevens, the Devils are 1-2-1. They are just 3-5-3-1
in the past 12 contests, but haven't lost much ground in the Atlantic Division
because first-place Philadelphia is also struggling.
"Anytime you lose the heart and soul of your hockey club, it's going to
make a difference," goalie Martin Brodeur said. "You get by for a certain
amount of time. You need other guys to step up."
New Jersey settled for a 3-3 tie against the New York Rangers on Thursday
after allowing Matthew Barnaby's goal with 1:49 left in regulation.
The Devils, who play four of their next five at home, have been outscored
12-3 in three straight losses at Continental Airlines Arena.
Although the Capitals are still far from playoff contention, they are
unbeaten in a season-high three straight (2-0-1).
Jaromir Jagr scored with less than a second remaining in regulation
Wednesday, lifting Washington to a 3-3 tie with visiting Calgary.
Extending their longest unbeaten streak of the season won't be easy for the
Capitals, who could be without centers Robert Lang and Kip Miller. Lang, second
in the NHL with 50 points, and Miller, the team's sixth-leading scorer, both
have the flu.
Washington has been outscored 13-5 during a five-game winless streak (0-4-1)
against New Jersey.