Posted November 10, 2011 on
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The New Jersey Devils have been without three-time All-Star Ilya Kovalchuk for the past two games but haven't missed a beat.
The Washington Capitals have been without star defenseman Mike Green for nearly three weeks, and his absence has been quite apparent.
With the status of both uncertain for the opener of a home-and-home series Friday night at the Prudential Center, the Devils will look to win a season-high fourth straight while sending the suddenly struggling Capitals to a third consecutive defeat.
Kovalchuk has sat out the last two games for New Jersey (7-5-1) with a lower-body injury. The left wing, second on the team with nine points, has reported some improvement but did not practice Thursday.
"When you have players like that out of the lineup, your attention to detail, I think, gets better out of necessity," coach Peter DeBoer said after Tuesday's 3-2 win over Carolina.
Rookie center Adam Henrique certainly seems to be playing with greater focus.
Henrique scored the game winner at 16:41 of the third period Tuesday after scoring in overtime in Saturday's 3-2 victory over Winnipeg. All of his first four career goals have come during New Jersey's three-game winning streak, and Henrique is the first Devils rookie to be credited with the winning goal in two consecutive games since Patrik Elias on Nov. 8-10, 1997.
"The kid obviously has a knack for big goals,'' DeBoer said of the 21-year-old.
"He has speed, skill, good size and a unique composure for a young guy. The game is moving on around him and nothing rattles him. I really like that about him. Pressure doesn't get to him and he's able to rise to the occasion.''
While Henrique is doing an outstanding job of carrying the offense in Kovalchuk's absence, the Capitals (9-4-0) are having a hard time finding someone to fill the void left by Green's injury.
Green has missed Washington's last six games with a sprained right ankle, but did fully participate in Wednesday's practice. He is still listed as day-to-day.
With Green in the lineup, the Capitals won the season's first seven games, allowing an average of 2.0 goals. Since he went down, Washington is 2-4-0 and is allowing double that.
The Capitals are coming off Tuesday's 5-2 loss to Dallas, the second straight game they surrendered five goals in a defeat.
"It's a mystery, because our group is much better than that,'' forward Mike Knuble said. "We're a veteran group and that shouldn't happen.''
Knuble has one goal in his last eight games, but had three goals and two assists in three contests against New Jersey last season - all victories.
The Capitals went 3-1-0 against the Devils in 2010-11, outscoring them 15-3 in their victories. Alex Ovechkin, who leads Washington with six goals, had two goals and four assists.
Martin Brodeur has struggled against the Capitals lately, recording a 4.64 goals-against average in losing his last four starts against them - tied for his longest current losing streak against any opponent (Boston, Philadelphia). The four-time Vezina Trophy winner, who missed six games earlier this season with a right shoulder injury, has started the last two games for the Devils, allowing two goals in each.
Tomas Vokoun could be back between the pipes for the Capitals after getting the night off Tuesday. He is 1-2-0 with a 3.90 GAA in his last four starts, and 1-3-0 with a 2.28 GAA against the Devils since 2009-10.
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New Jersey Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk has been ruled out for both ends of a home-and-home series against the Washington Capitals.
Kovalchuk, who is nursing a muscle pull in his leg, will miss games on Friday and Saturday, coach Peter DeBoer detailed.
"It's lingering," DeBoer told ESPNNewYork.com. "But it's definitely getting better. He'll be back...
Washington Capitals stud defenseman Mike Green will miss his eighth straight game on Saturday when he sits out of the back end of a home-and-home series against the New Jersey Devils.
Green has been sidelined since Oct. 22 with an ankle injury versus the Detroit Red Wings.
The Capitals are being extremely cautious with the former first-round pick, who participated in Friday'...
Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green will be a game-time decision for Friday's contest against the New Jersey Devils.
Green has missed six games since suffering an ankle injury against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 22.
The former first-round draft pick took part in Friday's morning skate session and said all signs point to him being able to return.
Green has three...
Ilya Kovalchuk did not practice Thursday, but coach Peter DeBoer didn't rule him out for Friday's game against Washington.
"It's day to day," DeBoer said. "Unlike a broken bone where there's a definite timeline on it, it really ...
DeBoer is being cautious with his injured star
Ilya Kovalchuk will miss his third straight game with a lower-body injury.
Highlighting the best Devils comments from the NJ.com community
NEWARK, N.J. — This wasn't what anyone around the Washington Capitals wanted to see on the night of Mike Green's triumphant return to the lineup. He got tangled up with a Devils player late in the third period and skated gingerly off the ice. In his first game since suffering a ...
Ilya Kovalchuk misses second straight game
NEWARK, N.J. — It was a long 20 days for Mike Green. He missed six games and plenty of practices. But Friday night, the All-Star defenseman who had been nursing a right-ankle injury returned to the Washington Capitals' lineup for the first part of a home-and-home series with the New Jersey ...
NEWARK, N.J. — The Capitals are a much different team with Mike Green than without him, which is why they should be a happy group Friday night. Green is expected to make his return to the Caps lineup at the New Jersey Devils, a source indicated. Officially, the defenseman is ...
With Travis Zajac, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Martin Brodeur all dealing with injuries early in the season, Adam Henrique has given the Devils the spark they need to stay above .500.
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For the first time ever at Hockeybuzz, I'm putting together a "Stat Attack" piece for the Devils. Here are some interesting Devils stats I've gathered for you all. Some stats you may have seen, some you may not have seen. Either way, here they are.
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The Washington Capitals were on ice for an intense practice bag skate Wednesday following their pathetic showing against the Dallas Stars Tuesday night. Some notes from Arlington:
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