This is the fifth meeting of the year between the two teams, who will also square off on Friday. The Capitals have won all four prior matchups, the most recent of which came on March 9 in overtime.
New Jersey has turned things around of late, winning four of its last five entering Thursday to reach the 28-point mark on the season. The Devils remain second from the bottom in the division, but the Rangers and Flyers are both in their sights.
This recent run of success followed up a stretch where the Devils lost 12 out of 14, enduring losing streaks of three, four and five games at a clip.
Miles Wood leads New Jersey with nine goals on the season but has not lit the lamp since March 16 against Buffalo. Pavel Zacha is tops on the team with 18 points.
Despite sitting out last Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh with an undisclosed setback, Zacha returned to the ice and has played in the team’s last three games. One more goal will give Zacha 200 over his 15 seasons with New Jersey, becoming only the fourth Devils player to reach that mark.
The Devils have used four different goaltenders this season, though Scott Wedgewood and Mackenzie Blackwood have been the primary netminders as of late. Blackwood has been between the pipes during the last two games, both Jersey wins.
Washington had their seven-game winning streak snapped on Saturday, losing to the Rangers in the back-end of a back-to-back home series. Despite the setback, the Capitals are second in the East, just two points behind the Islanders, thanks to a stretch where they won those seven in a row and 11 of 12.
It’s become a three-horse race in the East with the Islanders, Capitals and Penguins all separated by just four points.
Nicklas Backstrom’s 34 points are the most on the Washington roster, and his 12 goals are second only to Alex Ovechkin. Jakub Vrana has 10 goals to give the team three players in double-figure goals.
BETTING LINE AND PICK
The Devils are a heavy underdog but are 10-3 on the puck line on the road this season.
Washington has been perfect against New Jersey this season, and coming off an extended layoff, there’s no reason to think that won’t continue. Friday might be a different story on a back-to-back, but we’ll lay the wood on Thursday as the Capitals try to keep up with the Islanders.
If you’re looking to play a total, consider that the under is 6-1 in the Devils’ last seven overall and 3-0-1 in the Capitals’ last four overall.
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