The Washington Capitals are in last place in the Eastern Conference with just 11 points, which seems unthinkable when you look at this roster. The Caps have two top goaltending prospects, one of the best players in hockey, scoring depth and recognizable names on defense. They lack the glaring weaknesses of a last place team, but a coaching transition and poor play have the Caps in the Eastern Conference cellar.
The Capitals find themselves with 11 points, a 5-9-1 record and a -10 goal differential. With back to back home games against the New Jersey Devils somehow on the schedule, the Capitals are desperate.
The Devils were first place in the Eastern Conference earlier this month, but inconsistent play has them slipping from the elite. Despite an impressive 9-3-4 record, the Devils have scored just four more goals than they’ve allowed. Their middling defensive rotation has been making mistakes lately and the team has disappeared for long stretches of time offensively in their last two games, both of which were losses.
This scheduling anomaly features two teams playing poor hockey of late. Even though the Capitals have won three of their last four games, they allowed ten goals in their last two wins. The Devils are coming off two of their worst periods of the season in the second part of their latest loss, all but disappearing offensively.
With two slumping teams involved, I have to side with the more consistent goaltending for this prediction. I like New Jersey in a struggle on the road: Devils 3 – Capitals 1.