(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will try to avoid their first three-game losing streak since last March when they visit the struggling New Jersey Devils for tonight's battle at Prudential Center.
The Capitals lost consecutive games this weekend against Atlanta and Philadelphia, and Bruce Boudreau's club hasn't been on the losing end in three straight games since Washington went 0-2-1 from March 25-30 of last season.
Washington was handed a 5-0 drubbing Friday evening in Atlanta and returned home Saturday to face Philadelphia, which posted a 5-4 shootout victory over the host Capitals. Danny Briere notched the winner in the shootout for the Flyers.
Briere opened the third and final round by scoring on a soft shot between the pads of Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth. Alexander Semin looked like he prolonged the session, but as Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher slid, his chance rang off the left post to end the contest.
Jason Chimera posted a goal and one helper for the Capitals. Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom and Eric Fehr also lit the lamp, while Neuvirth allowed four goals on 35 shots.
"There were a lot of power plays for us and for them, and that's why it was a high-scoring game," Neuvirth said. "Big comeback by us at the end, but we just couldn't get it done in the shootout."
Washington lost the game despite going 3-for-7 on the power play. The Capitals are fifth in the NHL with a 23.7 percent success rate on the man advantage this year.
Capitals forward Mike Knuble left Friday's game against Atlanta after getting hit in the face with a puck and did not return. He also sat out Saturday's game against his former club and is questionable for tonight.
Washington is playing the first of two straight on the road tonight and is 4- 4-1 as the guest after losing its last two games away from D.C.
Meanwhile, the Devils enter tonight with three straight losses and the club has just 12 points on the year, tying them with the New York Islanders for last in the NHL. New Jersey has just two wins in its last nine games, going 2-6-1 over that stretch.
All three of the setbacks on New Jersey's current slide have come in regulation, including Saturday's close loss in St. Louis. Brad Winchester scored the game-winning goal early in the third period to lift the Blues to a 3-2 win at Scottrade Center. David Clarkson and Mattias Tedenby tallied for the Devils, who led the game 2-1 midway through the second period.
"We had some energy. I thought we came out strong," said New Jersey head coach John MacLean. We played hard. We had an opportunity go up 3-1, but we couldn't bury the third one."
The defeat in St. Louis wasn't the only bad news for the Devils on Saturday. It was also reported by a New Jersey newspaper that goaltender Martin Brodeur may not return to action for up to two weeks due to the recurrence of a right elbow injury. Brodeur was originally hurt in Chicago on November 3.
Mike McKenna, a native of St. Louis, started in Brodeur's place on Saturday and wound up taking the defeat after allowing three goals on 27 shots. Johan Hedberg is expected to be New Jersey's No. 1 goaltender in Brodeur's absence and the Swede will likely get the start tonight.
Devils defenseman Andy Greene suffered a stinger when he fell into the boards on Saturday, but could play tonight.
New Jersey will play two straight and four of its next five games on home ice. The Devils have just one win in eight home tests (1-5-2) this season.
The Capitals slammed New Jersey, 7-2, when the clubs met in D.C. earlier this season and Alex Ovechkin had a pair of goals in that game. The Devils still have won six out of 11 in the series overall and Washington has dropped three of four and four of its last six in the Garden State.