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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 23rd (All times Eastern)
New Jersey Devils (10-3-4) at Washington Capitals (5-10-1), 12 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals gave the New Jersey Devils plenty of chances to win Thursday's meeting and the visitors were more than happy to take advantage.
The Capitals hope to clean up their game in Saturday afternoon's rematch with the Devils and avoid a third straight loss.
These two clubs are wrapping a set of two games in Washington over three days and the Devils emerged with a 3-2 victory in the first meeting thanks to some undisciplined hockey by the Capitals.
Washington took a one-goal lead into the third period on power-play goals from Mathieu Perreault and Mike Ribeiro, but was whistled for six minor penalties in the third frame and gave New Jersey a pair of 5-on-3 advantages.
The Caps killed off the first one before Andrei Loktinov's even-strength goal at 9:19 tied the game, and shortly afterward, Caps defensemen John Erskine and Tom Poti were sent off for hooking and interference infractions, respectively, that occurred just two seconds apart.
The Devils cashed in, with Ilya Kovalchuk rocketing a one-timer off Patrik Elias' pass from behind that beat Braden Holtby stick-side with 8:20 left.
"We have to be more disciplined," said Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom. "It's not good enough. The first 5-on-3 (in the third period) we did a good job, but we got another one right after."
Elias added a short-handed goal and Martin Brodeur came up with 17 saves for the Devils, who had lost three of four but beat the Capitals for a fifth straight time and won their third consecutive game in Washington.
"It wasn't our best game tonight, but in the third period I think we found our legs and Marty made some big saves in the second to give us a lot of energy," said Kovalchuk. "I think in the third period we dominated, and that's why they took a couple penalties and we scored."
Washington, meanwhile, has dropped back-to-back games since a season-high three-game winning streak despite a 34-save effort from Holtby in his fifth straight start.
The Capitals did remain red-hot in the power play with two goals and is 10- for-23 for the last eight games.
Capitals defenseman Mike Green sat out a second straight game with a lower- body injury, while the Devils scratched forward Ryan Carter after he sustained a possible concussion in Monday's loss to Ottawa.
02/23 10:36:40 ET