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Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Gameday: vs. New Jersey, Mar. 2

Build on the momentum...
The Washington Capitals will welcome the New Jersey Devils to Verizon Center this evening as they look to extend their recent string of success and continue a five-game homestand.  The Caps, winners of three in a row, are 4-5-1 in their last ten games and 32-26-5 on the year for 69 standings points in 63 games.  Those 69 points place them third in the Southeast Division, three points behind the Panthers and one point behind the Jets with three games in hand, as well as ninth in the Eastern Conference.  The Devils, who lost in OT last night in Boston, are 4-4-2 in their last ten and 35-23-5 for 75 standings points in 63 games.  They are therefore fourth in the highly competitive Atlantic Division and eighth overall in the East.  This is the fourth and final regular season meeting between these two clubs this season; the Caps are 1-0-2 in the previous three meetings.

Johan Hedberg will start in goal for the Devils after Martin Brodeur played last night against the Bruins.  Hedberg, who is an old enemy of the Caps, is 13-7-2 on the year with a 2.53 GAA, .908 save percentage, and two shutouts on the year. He has evolved into one of the most reliable backups in the NHL this year and beat the Caps in his last start agains them.  Outside the crease, the Devils have two key men down: center Travis Zajac, who has missed all but eight games this year because of complications due to an achilles injury, and defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who had a blood clot in his leg and is rehabbing from the complications associated with that injury.

Michal Neuvirth has earned a fourth consecutive nod in goal from Dale Hunter this evening, as he has won each of his last three starts in excellent form. Neuvirth is 9-9-3 on the year with a 2.83 GAA, .903 save percentage, and two shutouts.  He has excelled against the Devils in his career, with a .950 save percentage against them, and allowed three goals in a shootout loss in their last meeting.  On the injury front, the Caps are still without star center Nicklas Backstrom, who is out because of a concussion and has not played in nearly two months now.  After three wins in a row, Hunter should keep the same lineup, which means that Roman Hamrlik and John Erskine will be scratched, as well as Mike Knuble.

That's all for now.  As always, follow me on Twitter here for news and updates.

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