Devils Pre-Game 3/25/16

New Jersey Devils (36-31-7) vs. Washington Capitals (52-15-5)

7:00 PM ET • Prudential Center • MSG Network • Sports Radio 66 AM & 101.9 FM WFAN

Pre-Game Availability

  • New Jersey will not have a morning skate. Head Coach John Hynes will be available outside the Devils’ locker room at approximately 4:40 PM.

Coming Into Tonight

  • New Jersey has won five of its last seven games (5-2-0=10pts). At 36-31-7=79pts, the club has already surpassed its win/point total from all of 2014-15 (32-36-14=78pts).
  • The Devils have won two straight at Prudential Center and are 17-15-4=38pts at The Rock overall.
  • New Jersey is playing the fourth in a stretch of five straight games vs. Metropolitan Division opponents. The Devils are 11-15-2=24pts vs. the Metro overall are 6-6-2=14pts at home.
  • Tonight’s contest closes-out the club’s 12th and final set of back-to-back games. The Devils finished 5-6-1=11pts in first games and are 5-4-2=12pts in second games when playing on consecutive dates.

Last Game – Mar. 24 – Devils 3 at Pittsburgh 0

  • New Jersey finished 2-2-0 in its season series vs. Pittsburgh and snapped a five-game losing streak at CONSOL Energy Center (last win, Feb. 10, 2013, 3-1).
  • The Devils are 4-3-0=6pts over their last seven road games and are 19-16-3=41pts away from Prudential Center overall.
  • The Devils were 1/3 on the power play and are 3/10 (30.0%) over the past three games.
  • Pittsburgh outshot New Jersey, 39-24, including 15-6 in the third period.
  • Scott Wedgewood stopped all 39 shots he faced to record the first shutout of his career in his second NHL start. He becomes the first Devils’ rookie goaltender to record a shutout since Mike Dunham on Apr. 6, 1997 at St. Louis (25 saves). Wedgewood is 2-0-0 and has stopped 66/67 shots in his first two starts.
  • Wedgewood’s 39 saves are the most-ever by a Devils’ goaltender in his first NHL shutout (2nd, 28, Keith Kinkaid, Feb. 14, 2016 vs. Los Angeles & Mike Dunham, Dec.16, 1996 at Calgary).
  • Kyle Palmieri scored 0:26 into the game to give the Devils a 1-0 lead. The goal was New Jersey’s fastest to start a game this season (tie, Lee Stempniak, Dec. 6 vs. Florida). It was Palmieri’s fourth game-winning goal of 2015-16.
  • Palmieri then scored a power play goal at 13:08 of the first to put the Devils ahead 2-0. It was Palmieri’s third multi-goal game/11th multi-point effort of the season. He has points in a career-high (tie) four consecutive games (4g-3a-7pts) and has 6g-6a-12pts over the last ten contests. Palmieri leads the Devils with a career-high 11g-10a-21pts on the PP & a career-high 29g-23a-52pts overall.
  • Adam Henrique scored his 27th goal of the season at 9:57 of the third. He has 4g over the last four games and 8g over past ten contests. Henrique needs just 1pt. to reach 200 in his NHL career (95g-104a-199pts).
  • Reid Boucher recorded 2a  for his fourth multi-point game of the season. He has points in a career-high (tie) four straight games (2g-3a-5pts), has 2g-5a-7pts over the past eight contests and 7g-10a-17pts in 32 appearances overall.
  • Damon Severson registered his third multi-point game of the season with 2a tonight (1PPA). He now has 7a over his last ten appearances and leads Devils’ defensemen with a career-high 19a/20pts this season. 
  • Travis Zajac posted the primary assist on Palmieri’s first goal, his team-leading 27th helper of the season. He now has 3g-5a-8pts over the last ten games. Zajac ranks fourth on the club with 12g-27a-39pts this season.
  • Devante Smith-Pelly collected the secondary assist on Henrique’s goal. He now has points in six of the last seven games (5g-3a-8pts) & has 7g-4a-11pts in nine games with New Jersey. Smith-Pelly had 6g-6a-12pts in 46 appearances with Montreal prior to being traded to the Devils on Feb. 29.
  • Blake Pietila made his NHL debut after being emergency recalled from Albany (AHL) yesterday. He tied a team season-high with eight hits in 12:17 of action (also, Jordin Tootoo, Feb. 6 vs. Washington).

Tonight’s Opponent

  • Washington defeated the Ottawa Senators, 4-2, on Tuesday and clinched the Metropolitan Division & home-ice advantage through the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 
  • The Capitals lead the President’s Trophy race with a record of 52-15-5=109pts. Dallas (44-22-9=97pts) is 12 points behind Washington, despite the Capitals having three games in hand.
  • Washington was 1/2 on the power play on Tuesday and owns the NHL’s #2 PP unit overall (52/224, 23.2%).
  • The Capitals’ penalty-kill unit ranks fourth in the league (195/231, 84.4%).
  • Washington is averaging 3.15 goals/game, which ranks second in the NHL (1st, Dallas, 3.21). The Capitals have outscored their opponents 231-170; the 61 goal differential is tops in the league (2nd, Los Angeles/Florida/Tampa Bay, 29 goal differential).
  • Alex Ovechkin scored a power play goal on Tuesday, his league-leading 43rd of the season. He is just the seventh player in NHL history to record 40-or-more goals in eight of his first 11 season. Ovechkin also leads the NHL with 17 PPG and 354 shots.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov leads Washington/is fifth in the NHL (tie, Tyler Seguin) with 20g-53a-73pts this season. He’s third (tie, Patrick Kane) with 53a and is fourth in the league with a +28 rating. Kuznetsov has 0g-7a-7pts over the past seven games.
  • Nicklas Backstrom scored the game-winning goal and added an assist on Tuesday to record his 16th multiple-point game of the season. He has 19g-46a-65pts overall, which ranks second on the club and 13th in the NHL.
  • Andre Burakovsky has 12g-14a-26pts over the last 30 contests after posting just 4g-6a-10pts over his first 39 appearances this season.
  • Justin Williams has 2g-3a-5pts over the past seven games and ranks fourth on the club with 21g-28a-49pts overall.
  • T.J. Oshie scored his 23rd goal of the season on Tuesday and has 6g-4a-10pts over the last 11 games. 
  • Daniel Winnik has 2g-1a-3pts over the last three games, his first points as a Capital. He was acquired from Toronto, along with a fifth-round pick in the 2016 Draft, in exchange for Brooks Laich, Connor Carrick and a second-round pick in 2016 on Feb. 28.
  • Karl Alzner is expected to skate in his 500th NHL game tonight.
  • Braden Holtby made 28 saves on Tuesday at Ottawa and earned his NHL-leading 44th win of the season. He established the Capitals’ single-season win record with his 42nd victory of the season on Mar. 15 vs. Carolina. Holtby ranks seventh in the NHL with a 2.25 goals-against averaege
  • Philipp Grubauer allowed four goals on 27 shots and took the loss in his last start on Mar. 12 at San Jose He’s 8-6-1 with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .924 save-percentage in 19 appearances overall.

Devils vs. Capitals

Last Game – Feb. 20 – Devils 3 at Washington 4

The Devils held a 3-2 lead midway through the third period but allowed two goals over the game’s final 7:05. Reid Boucher recorded a career-high 1g-2a-3pts, while Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac each posted 1g-1a-2pts. Cory Schneider (28 saves) took the loss in goal.

2015-16

Record: 0-2-1 (0-0-1 at home)

Goals/Against: 8-12 (2-3 at home)

Shots For/Against: 72-88 (24-29 at home)

Power Play/Penalty Kill:  2-6 (33.3%)/9-11 (81.8%)

Leading Scorers:  NJ – Kyle Palmieri (1g-2a-3pts), Travis Zajac (1g-2a-3pts), Reid Boucher (1g-2a-3pts); Wsh. – Alex Ovechkin (2g-2a-4pts), five players with 3pts each.

Goaltending:  NJ – Cory Schneider (0-1-1, 2.90 GAA, .902 save %), Keith Kinkaid (0-1-0, 4.17 GAA, .846 save %) ; Wsh. – Braden Holtby (3-0-0, 2.61 GAA, .889 save %).

All-Time

Record: 76-84-10 (44-34-5 at home)

Goals For/Against: 479-543 (238-231 at home)

Career Leading Scorers: NJ – Patrik Elias (22g-36a-58pts), Travis Zajac (5g-19a-24pts), Tuomo Ruutu (8g-7a-15pts), Michael Cammalleri (7g-8a-15pts); Wsh. – Alex Ovechkin (19g-24a-43pts), Mike Richards (7g-24a-31pts), Nicklas Backstrom (6g-19a-25pts), Justin Williams (4g-21a-25pts).

Career Goaltending: NJ – Cory Schneider (3-5-2, 1 ShO, 2.36 GAA, .914 save %), Keith Kinkaid (0-1-0, 4.17 GAA, .846 save %); Wsh. – Braden Holtby (9-3-1, 2 ShO, 2.15 GAA, .922 save %).

Notable: New Jersey is looking to snap a six-game winless streak (0-4-2) vs. Washington (last win, Nov. 14, 2014)…Three of the last four games have been decided by one goal; two have gone to OT/SO…The Devils are 0-2-1 in their last three games vs. the Capitals at Prudential Center…Travis Zajac has 2g-7a-9pts over his last 11 games vs. the Capitals.

Connections: Travis Zajac and Washington forwards Taylor Chorney and T.J. Oshie were teammates at the University of North Dakota in 2005-06…Capitals’ defenseman John Carlson played for the NJ Rockets (ATJHL) for two seasons from 2005-07…New Jersey’s Assistant General Manager Tom Fitzgerald played under Caps Head Coach Barry Trotz from 1998-2002; Fitzgerald served the Predators as team captain during each of those four seasons…Washington’s Assistant Coach Todd Reirden was New Jersey’s 14th choice (12th round) and the 242nd overall pick in the 1990 Entry Draft…Head Coach John Hynes served as an assistant under Reirden with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2009-10 and succeeded him as Head Coach of the Penguins the following season.

Devils in Detail

  • WEDGE-WALL: Scott Wedgewood stopped all 39 shots he faced to record the first shutout of his career in his second NHL start on Mar. 24 at Pittsburgh. He becomes the first Devils’ rookie goaltender to record a shutout since Mike Dunham on Apr. 6, 1997 at St. Louis (25 saves). His 39 saves were the most-ever by a Devils’ goaltender in his first NHL shutout (2nd, 28, Keith Kinkaid, Feb. 14, 2016 vs. Los Angeles & Dunham, Dec.16, 1996 at Calgary). Wedgewood is 2-0-0 and has stopped 66/67 shots in his first two starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wedgewood became the second goaltender in franchise history to record a shutout within his first two NHL appearances. The other: Samuel St. Laurent – also in his second game – on March 27, 1986 vs. STL (1-0 W).
  • DRIVE FOR FIVE: Kyle Palmieri (4g-3a-7pts) and Reid Boucher (2g-3a-5pts) each enter tonight’s game with points in a career-high four straight games. They are each looking to tie the team season-high of points in five consecutive games tonight (Lee Stempniak, Dec. 3-11, 2g-3a-5pts).
  • PALMIERI’S CAREER YEAR: Kyle Palmieri has established new career-highs with 29 goals (previously, 14g, 2014-15 & 2013-14) and 52 points (prev., 14g-17a-31pts in 71 games, 2013-14) this season. Palmieri is on pace for 32g-25a-57pts, which would nearly double his previous career-high.
  • DSP MAKING AN IMPACT: Devante Smith-Pelly recorded 1a last night at Pittsburgh, has points in six of the last seven games (5g-3a-8pts) and has 7g-4a-11pts in nine games with New Jersey. Smith-Pelly had 6g-6a-12pts in 46 appearances with Montreal prior to being traded to the Devils on Feb. 29.
  • IRON MAN: Andy Greene has played in 303 consecutive games, dating back to Mar. 6, 2012, the sixth-longest games-played stretch in Devils’ history. He appeared in his 289th straight game on Feb. 20 at Washington to pass Aaron Broten (Mar. 27, 1986-Jan. 4, 1990) on the all-time list. Jay Pandolfo is next on the list, having appeared in 307 consecutive games from Jan. 22, 2003-Nov. 28, 2007. Greene played in his 267th straight game and also passed Broten (266 games, Dec. 6, 1982-Feb. 15, 1986) for seventh on the list on Dec. 30 at Ottawa. Greene’s streak is the second-longest in team history among defensemen, trailing only Ken Daneyko’s 388-game stretch from Nov. 4, 1989-Mar. 29, 1994.
  • HURRY UP OFFENSE: Devante Smith-Pelly and Mike Sislo scored in the opening 1:34 of the Devils’ 7-4 win over Minnesota on Mar. 17. It was New Jersey’s fastest pair of goals to start a game since Mar. 2, 1998 vs. Philadelphia (1:13, Brian Rolston & Randy McKay). -credit Elias Sports Bureau
  • GOOD COMPANY: Devante Smith-Pelly scored 2g on Mar. 17 vs. Minnesota, becoming the fourth player ever to record a multi-goal game for the Devils after doing so for another NHL team earlier that season (also, Nov. 25 at NY Rangers w/ Montreal). He’s in very notable company, since each of the three other players to do so scored at least 450g in the NHL: Peter Stastny in 1989-90 (also w/ Quebec), Dave Andreychuk in 1995-96 (Toronto), and Alexander Mogilny in 1999-2000 (Vancouver). -credit Elias Sports Bureau
  • WORTH THE WAIT: Mike Sislo scored the first two goals of his career in his 32nd NHL game on Mar. 17 vs. Minnesota. He’s the first Devils player to record a multi-goal game in the first NHL game in which he scored a goal since Mike Rupp scored twice in his NHL debut on Jan. 13, 2003 vs. Florida. -credit Elias Sports Bureau
  • KINKAID NAMED THIRD STAR OF THE WEEK: On Mar. 14, Keith Kinkaid was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week for the week ending March 13. He was joined by St. Louis’s Vladimir Tarasenko (1st) and Florida’s Vincent Trocheck (2nd). Kinkaid went 2-0-0 with one shutout, a 0.48 goals-against average and a .981 save percentage in two starts last week. He earned his second career shutout with 30 saves in a 3-0 victory at San Jose on Mar. 10. Kinkaid then stopped 22 of 23 shots in a 2-1 OT win at Los Angeles on March 12.
  • THAT’S MOORE LIKE IT!: John Moore scored his third overtime goal of the season/his career on Mar. 12 at Los Angeles. Four of the Devils’ nine OT goals this season & nine of their last 16 OT game-winners overall have been scored by a defenseman. Moore is just the second d’man in franchise history to score three OT goals in a season, joining Scott Niedermayer (4, 2001-02).
  • THE LATE SHOW: On Mar. 3 at Nashville, Adam Henrique became the fourth player in franchise history to record a tying goal in the final minute of regulation and then the winning goal in that same game. He joined Patrik Elias (Nov. 9, 2001 vs. Toronto), Joe Nieuwendyk (Jan. 22, 2003 at San Jose) and Jamie Langenbrunner (Jan. 30, 2009 vs. Pittsburgh).-credit Elias Sports Bureau
  • SCHNEIDER, HYNES TO REPRESENT TEAM USA AT WORLD CUP OF HOCKEY: On Mar. 2, all eight teams competing in the World Cup of Hockey 2016, which will take place from Sept. 17-Oct. 1 in Toronto, announced their initial rosters of at least 16 players. Cory Schneider was one of three goaltenders selected to represent Team USA. The balance of the roster will be named no later than June 1. On January 16, Devils’ Head Coach John Hynes was named an assistant coach for Team USA. Hynes, a native of Warwick, RI, will serve alongside Phil Housley, Mike Sullivan, Jack Capuano and Scott Gordon on Head Coach John Tortorella’s staff.
  • GREENE PASSES CIRELLA: Andy Greene collected the 148th assist of his career on Mar. 1 vs. the Carolina Hurricanes and has passed Joe Cirella for sole-possession of fifth-place among Devils’ defensemen all-time. Brian Rafalski (267a) ranks fourth.
  • HOWE ABOUT THAT!: Sergey Kalinin recorded the first Gordie Howe hat trick of his NHL career on Feb. 23 vs. the New York Rangers. Kalinin posted 1g-1a-2pts and had a fight vs. the Rangers’ J.T.Miller. He’s the first Devil to register a Gordie Howe hat trick since Jordin Tootoo on Mar. 14, 2015 at Arizona.
  • SCHLEMKO’S KOs: David Schlemko scored the game-winning goal on Feb. 2 vs. the NY Rangers. It was the third GWG of his NHL career/in a span of 27 appearances. Each of his GWG have come vs. a Metropolitan Division opponent (also, Dec. 29 vs. Carolina & Nov. 14 Pittsburgh). Schlemko had 2a Mar. 3 at Nashville & has established new career-highs across the board with 6g-13a-19pts this season (prev., 4g-10a-14pts, 2010-11). 
  • FIRST CLASS:  New Jersey scored five goals in the first period of its 6-3 victory over Ottawa at Prudential Center on Jan. 21. It was the team’s most goals in a single frame since also scoring 5g in the third period of a 6-3 win vs. Tampa Bay on Jan. 9, 2011. The Devils tied a franchise record for goals in the first period (accomplished five times, last time Mar. 11, 1997 vs. Edmonton). Travis Zajac posted 1g-3a-4pts, the first Devil to record 4pts in a single-period since Ilya Kovalchuk (Mar. 23, 2010 vs. Columbus, 1g-3a, 2nd period) & just the second player in team history to do so in the first period (Patrik Elias, 1g-3a, Dec. 20, 2000 vs. Dallas). Zajac was the first NHL player to record 4pts in a period since Claude Giroux (2g-2a) on Dec. 19, 2013 vs. Columbus (third period). Joseph Blandisi recorded 1g-2a-3pts, the seventh rookie in Devils’ history to record 3pts in a single period & the first since Brendan Morrison (Dec. 28, 1998 at Buffalo, 1g-2a, first period). – credit Elias Sports Bureau
  • 600 GAMES FOR GREENE: Andy Greene skated in his 600th NHL game on Jan. 6 at Montreal, all of which have been played for the Devils. He became just the 16th player/sixth defenseman (also, Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Colin White and Bruce Driver) in team history to reach the milestone.
  • BIG SAVES: Cory Schneider stopped David Desharnais’ penalty shot attempt on Jan. 6 at Montreal, has now saved 4/4 PS he’s faced this season (also, Jonathan Huberdeau Dec. 6 vs. Florida, Radim Vrbata Nov. 22 at Vancouver & Patrick Marleau Oct. 16 vs. San Jose) and has stopped 12/14 in his career. Schneider’s four PS faced ties New Jersey’s single-season record (Johan Hedberg, 2011-12). George Hainsworth holds the NHL record, having faced six PS for Toronto in 1934-35 (the first season for penalty shots in the NHL). -credit Elias Sports Bureau
  • HENRIQUE-ING HAVOC: Adam Henrique scored his second shorthanded goal of the season on Nov. 8 vs. Vancouver. Henrique’s 11 SHG since 2011-12 are tied for the second-most among all NHL players during that span (Brad Marchand, 14). He’s also tied Stephane Richer and Doug Brown for third in Devils’ history behind John Madden (17) and Patrik Elias (16).
  • ONE FOR THE BOOKS: On Oct. 22 at Ottawa, the Devils won (5-4 SO) after overcoming a two-goal deficit in the last six minutes of the third period for the first time in team history on the road & the fourth time overall (last time, Feb. 5, 2010, 4-3 vs. Toronto). (credit Elias Sports Bureau)
  • HYNES TIES RECORD: With a 5-4 SO win in Ottawa on Oct. 22, John Hynes became just the third coach in NHL history to record his first three wins in overtime or a shootout. He joined Charlie Querrie, who won three straight OT games with the Toronto St. Patricks in 1923, and Todd Richards, who won two OT & one SO as Minnesota’s Head Coach in 2009. (credit Elias Sports Bureau)
  • THIS DAY IN DEVILS HISTORY: On Mar. 25, 2002, Jamie Langenbrunner scored his first game-winning goal as a Devil in a 3-1 victory over Florida at the Meadowlands. Langenbrunner ranks fifth in team history with 32 GWG in 564 regular season games with New Jersey and holds the Devils’ record (tie w/ 4 others) with six playoff GWG.
  • SPEERS NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Blake Speers, the Devils third choice (67th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft, was named the Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week for the period ending Mar. 20. Speers recorded 3g-5a-8pts in three games for Sault Ste. Marie last week. The 19 year-old center finished the regular-season with a career-high 26g-48a-74pts and appeared in all 68 games for the Greyhounds.
  • SANTINI NAMED BEST DEFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN: Steven Santini, New Jersey’s first choice (2nd round/42nd overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft, was named Hockey East’s Best Defensive Defensemen on Mar. 16. Santini has posted a career-high 1g-16a-17pts and appeared in all 38 games during his junior season at Boston College. He’s the seventh player in BC history to win the award and the first since Patrick Wey in 2013. 

Milestone Watch

  • Adam Henrique – Needs 1pt. for 200 in his NHL career.
  • John Moore – Needs 5 GP for 300 in his NHL career.
  • Tuomo Ruutu –  Needs 3a for 200 in his NHL career.
  • David Schlemko – Needs 6 GP for 300 in his NHL career.
  • Jordin Tootoo – Needs 5a to reach 100 in his NHL career.

Injuries

  • Michael Cammalleri (I.R., upper body, 24 games missed) is out for the remainder of the season.
  • Patrik Elias (I.R., knee, 40 games missed) is out.
  • Jacob Josefson (upper body, eight games missed) is out.
  • Tyler Kennedy (lower body, one game missed) is out.
  • Jon Merrill (upper body, two games missed) is out.
  • David Schlemko (upper body, three games missed) is day-to-day.
  • Cory Schneider (grade 1 MCL sprain in right knee, eight games missed) is out.
  • Jiri Tlusty (I.R., upper body, 32 games missed) is out.
  • Jordin Tootoo (upper body, six games missed) is out.
  • Total man-games lost to injury/illness: 277

Recent Transactions

  • Mar. 23 – Recalled F Blake Pietila from Albany (AHL) on an emergency recall.
  • Mar. 21- Assigned F Brian O’Neill to Albany.
  • Mar. 20 – Recalled G Scott Wedgewood and D Vojtech Mozik from from Albany (AHL), both on emergency recalls.
  • Mar. 18 – Recalled F Brian O’Neill from Albany (AHL) on an emergency recall.
  • Mar. 8 – Recalled F Mike Sislo and D Seth Helgeson from Albany, both on an emergency recall. Agreed to terms with F Nick Lappin (Brown University) on an entry-level contract.
  • Mar. 5 – Recalled G Yann Danis from Albany on an emergency recall
  • Feb. 29 – Acquired F Devante Smith-Pelly from Montreal in exchange for F Stefan Matteau. Acquired Boston’s fourth-round pick in 2016 and second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for Lee Stempniak. Assigned/recalled Reid Boucher, Joseph Blandisi and Damon Severson to/from Albany. Acquired Colorado’s third-round pick in the 2017 Draft in exchange for Eric Gelinas. Claimed D David Warsofsky off waivers from Pittsburgh.

Game Resources

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