The New Jersey Devils took the NHL by surprise when they derailed a plethora of teams in the Eastern Conference on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals last June. While they were not able to raise the banner in 2012 Ilya Kovalchuk and company are now 2-0 and are playing some great hockey.
The Washington Capitals will come to New Jersey on Friday in what will be a marquee matchup for any fan who enjoys good hockey.
Getting back to Kovalchuk, the 29-year-old has been stellar in his first two games and I expect him to make a big impact versus the winless Caps. The right winger has three points in two wins to go along with a shorthanded goal–those goals are increasingly important as it keeps other teams power play success to a minimum.
Friday night will be a good test for Kovalchuk as he will match wits with one of the leagues most polarizing figures in Alex Ovechkin who has slumped in years prior. Now, if I had one player of these two to pick I would definitely take Kovalchuk as he has led the league in power play goals, shots on goal and goals in his career that started at age 19 not to mention a great postseason in 2012.
Devils goalie Martin Brodeur will be ready for the challenge against the Capitals–with a win the Devils will improve to 3-0 as they continue to chase the Pittsburgh Penguins for the number one spot in an Atlantic Division that is seen as one of the toughest divisions around hockey.