The Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils find themselves at opposite ends of the standings as the two Metropolitan Division rivals play their final game before the NHL All Star break Thursday night at the Prudential Center.
Sitting atop not only the division, but the entire National Hockey League, the Capitals (32-10-6) are in contention for a second consecutive President's Trophy. They own a league-best plus-51 goal differential, have allowed the fewest goals of any team (104), and are 12-1-2 in their past 15 games.
Meanwhile, the Devils (20-20-9) are tied for last place in both the division and Eastern Conference with the fifth fewest points in the league, and are desperately trying to avoid a fifth straight year out of the playoffs. The Devils have scored only 111 goals, third fewest in the NHL.
To make matters worse for the Devils, they have stopped winning on home ice, something they were extremely good at to start the season. New Jersey has only one win in its last eight games at the Prudential Center (1-6-1) and is winless in five straight at home (0-4-1) after starting the season 7-0-2 in Newark.
"We'd like to have an answer because we're going to be here a lot in the next six weeks," said Devils goaltender Cory Schneider. "We were very good here early on and lately it's been the opposite. We've been better on the road; so, we have to find a way to be consistent both at home and on the road. We have to find a way to win here."
The latest of those home defeats was a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Schneider was pulled after allowing three goals in the first period; and head coach John Hynes did not say after practice Wednesday whether Schneider or backup Keith Kinkaid will start against the Capitals. << Read more...
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