Having the Washington Capitals next on their schedule might be a welcomed sight for the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils look to recover from a poor stretch on Friday when they visit a Capitals team they've dominated the past few seasons.
New Jersey (18-12-3) won a season-high five straight games from Dec. 1-9, but has since dropped four of five, including a 4-3 shootout loss to Atlanta on Tuesday. The Devils are now looking to get back on track against the Capitals (15-11-7), who have just one win in the last 11 meetings in this series.
New Jersey swept the four games between the teams last season, and has nine wins and a tie against Washington since Dec. 28, 2002.
The Devils became the eighth team to allow two short-handed goals in a game this season in Tuesday's defeat to the visiting Thrashers. Marian Hossa scored both for Atlanta, including the tying goal with 12:58 left in regulation.
"We need to be better in those areas," Devils coach Claude Julien said.
New Jersey has allowed eight short-handed goals this season.
"They are momentum breakers," said Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who fell to 4-2 this season and 12-5 in his career in shootouts. "When you play four forwards and a defenseman, it's going to happen. Teams notice and will take chances."
The Devils, though, continued to produce on the power play Tuesday, scoring twice in five opportunities. They are 5-for-10 with the man advantage and have killed off all eight penalties in their last two games.
The Capitals went 2-for-5 on the power play Tuesday, but allowed three scores while short-handed in a 5-4 home loss to Tampa Bay. Washington had won its previous two games and was 7-1-1 since Nov. 28 before the defeat.
"I don't know if we were overconfident going into the game or thinking that we're better than we really are. We didn't show that team enough respect," Capitals goaltender Olaf Kolzig said. "We came close, but because we dug ourselves that big a hole we couldn't ultimately come out of it."
Alexander Ovechkin had a goal and an assist against the Lightning, and has seven goals and 11 assists during an eight-game point streak. Brodeur and New Jersey held him to two goals in the four meetings last season.
Brodeur is 28-10-0 with four ties, six shutouts and a 2.05 goals-against average in 43 appearances against Washington. He has won four straight over the Capitals and is unbeaten in nine consecutive outings against them since a 3-2 loss in Washington on Dec. 27, 2002.
These teams meet again next Friday in New Jersey.
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