Pregame #2: Washington Capitals vs New Jersey Devils (10/09/10)

Washington Capitals (0-1-0) vs New Jersey Devils (0-0-1)
Verizon Center
Time: 7:00 PM ET
TV: Comcast SportsNet (Game On!)
Radio: 820AM, 1500AM, and XM
Previous Games: (none)
Games Remaining:
Nov 22, 2010  WSH@NJD    7:00 PM ET
Dec 21, 2010  NJD@WSH    7:00 PM ET
Mar 18, 2011  WSH@NJD    7:00 PM ET
Game Promotion:
Opening Night and Schedule Magnet Giveaway
Familiar Faces of Former Capitals:
Dainius Zubrus (Capitals, 2000-04, 2005-07)
The Enemy:
Running with the Devils

The Washington Capitals and the New Jersey Devils face off tonight, with both teams’ looking for their first win of the 2010-11 season. The Caps will look to right the ship, and find their offense, following last nights’ lack-luster loss at the hands of the Atlanta Thrashers, while the Devils will try to get a tally in the win column after dropping their opener to the Dallas Stars 4-3 in overtime.

Tonight will be a good litmus test for Washington, as New Jersey has a balanced attack and is perenially a contender for the Atlantic Division crown. Look for the Capitals to rely heavily on their defense to clear the puck and contain the Dev’s offense – including off-season free agent diva Ilya Kovalchuk.

Neuvirth looks to get the nod again tonight (1-0-0 against the Devils, 1.01 GAA and .967 Sv%).

WTWF – after the jump.

Three Things to Watch For:

– Deke the Defense: The Devils are stacked defensively, with Henrik Tallinder, Andy Greene, and Anton Volchenkov hungry to shut down Washington’s prolific offense. The trio did not look sharp last night (finishing a combined -4), so look for them to prove their worth tonight and correct last night’s blunders.

– Calling all Capitals: Last season, 29 Caps tallied a goal. I realize that we are only 60 minutes into the 2010-11 season, but last night saw only 7 members of the squad record more than one shot on goal. If DC is going to win games, they’re going to need to light the lamp more than twice a game. Not to knock Michal Neuvirth‘s abilities, but this is a team built to out-score – not to out-defend. Word on the street is that they’re going to face off against Martin Brodeur tonight – so they’re definitely going to need to bring their A game.

– Special Teams: As Becca pointed out over at Japers’ Rink, the Capitals have only been able to convert one Power Play opportunity since April 6. After leading the league with the man advantage last season, they need to regain their form if they want to win games. Conversely, the Caps’ PK will need to replicate their perfect 3-for-3 performance last night if they want to keep the game close against sharpshooters Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and company.