Gameday: vs. New Jersey, Feb. 21

Neuvirth isn't playing tonight, but this Devils-related photo was just too much. (Clydeorama)

The Washington Capitals will welcome the New Jersey Devils to Verizon Center this evening as they look to rebound following a disappointing loss at the hands of the New York Rangers on Sunday night.  The Capitals, 3-1 in their last four, are 5-9-1 on the season for 11 standings points, which places them last in the Southeast Division and the Eastern Conference.  The Devils, who many thought would slide back with the offseason loss of captain Zach Parise in free agency, have instead thrived, and are 9-3-4 for 22 standings points; that places them atop the meatgrinder Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference.  This is the second game of the season between these two teams, as the Devils too round one 3-2 in overtime in late January.

The ageless Martin Brodeur will start a second consecutive game for Peter DeBoer as he continues his magical career.  Brodeur has been excellent this year, posting seven wins in 12 starts with a .912 save percentage and 2.29 GAA; he only allowed two goals the last time these two teams met.  On the injury front, only former Capital Dainius Zubrus is absent from the Devils’ lineup with a wrist injury; tough guy David Clarkson had been considered questionable with a back injury but practice fully Wednesday and will play.

Braden Holtby will start his fifth consecutive game for Adam Oates this evening, fresh off an excellent 38-save performance in Sunday’s loss.  Holtby, who was brutal earlier in the year but has righted the ship considerably recently, has a 4-5 record in eight starts and nine games while posting a .888 save percentage and 3.68 GAA.  Centers Brooks Laich and Marcus Johansson will miss the game with groin and upper-body injuries, respectively, while workhorse elite defenseman Mike Green is questionable with a lower-body ailment that forced him to miss Sunday’s game.  Fellow rearguard Jack Hillen is still out with a shoulder injury suffered in the first game of the season and will not play.  With no call-ups, expect the same lineup as in New York, which means Roman Hamrlik in the press box.

Puck drops 7:09-ish.  Check back later.

Harry Hawkings is a college student credentialed to cover the Capitals for RtR.  Follow him on Twitter here for all your news needs this season.

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