Devils-Capitals Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 12, 2011
The Washington Capitals have remained a force at home despite Alex Ovechkin's goal drought. Another meeting with the New Jersey Devils could get the superstar going at the Verizon Center. Ovechkin looks to build on yet another road goal and help the Capitals complete a sweep of this home-and-home set with the Devils on Saturday night. Washington (10-4-0) has won six of seven home games after going 25-8-8 to lead the Eastern Conference with 58 points as host last season. The Capitals have continued their success at Verizon Center even with Ovechkin searching for his first goal there this season. He has five assists at home with four coming on the power play. Saturday could be the perfect time for Ovechkin to get that first home goal since the two-time league MVP has seven goals and 12 assists in his last 10 games against the Devils (7-6-1). He has four and seven in his past five home matchups. Ovechkin scored his team-leading seventh goal in Washington's 3-1 victory at New Jersey on Friday. It was the fifth win in six games overall against the Devils for the Capitals, who have outscored New Jersey 16-4 in winning three straight meetings in the nation's capital. "The Devils are always a tough test," left wing Jason Chimera said. "We always seem to get up for games with them." Chimera's production certainly reinforces his claim. He's scored three goals the past five games with New Jersey, and netted a short-handed tally early in the third period Friday to end an eight-game drought. Improvement on special teams will be key for the Devils as they try to gain a split of this home-and-home set after their three-game winning streak was snapped Friday. New Jersey and Montreal have allowed a league-high three short-handed goals, but the Devils have surrendered one in each of the last two games. New Jersey's power play also ranks at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, going 5 for 45 after failing to convert on all five chances Friday. "I think it's a big problem," coach Peter DeBoer said. "We're all working and pushing for one, because the goals haven't been coming easy. So you tend to push a little extra for that goal and you get burned by it. It's obvious we have to find a way to get the power play going." Not having Ilya Kovalchuk for at least one more game may hamper the power play again. The star left wing is expected to miss a fourth game in a row with an undisclosed lower-body injury, leaving New Jersey without its second-highest scorer at nine points. Patrik Elias leads the team with six goals and eight assists and set up rookie defenseman Adam Larsson's first career score against the Capitals on Friday. Elias has two goals and three assists in his last five games against Washington.
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