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GAME: New Jersey Devils (30-16-11-1) at Washington Capitals (18-32-7-2).
TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.
An era has ended for the Washington Capitals.
For the first time in more than 13 years, the Capitals will not have Peter Bondra as part of their team when they host the New Jersey Devils.
The Capitals continued their salary purge Wednesday by trading Bondra, the franchise's all-time leading scorer, to Ottawa for prospect center Brooks Laich and a 2005 second-round draft pick.
Bondra, who spent his entire 14-year career in Washington, becomes the latest victim in the money-losing, last-place franchise's attempt to rebuild and trim payroll.
"I grew up here. I grew up as a player. I grew up as a person," Bondra said in an emotional farewell appearance Wednesday in the Capitals locker room. "I have to understand that I have to move on."
Washington has been trying all season to start rebuilding a franchise that will miss the playoffs for the second time in three years. Captain Steve Konowalchuk was traded to Colorado in October, and Jaromir Jagr was sent to the New York Rangers last month.
Goaltender Olaf Kolzig, defenseman Sergei Gonchar and center Robert Lang - all high-priced players - have been rumored to be on the trading block.
Kolzig had one of his best games of the season Tuesday, making 47 saves in a 1-1 tie against the Senators.
Kolzig, who made 38 saves in a 4-0 win at Chicago on Sunday, has stopped 123 of 127 shots in his last three games.
"It's a good stretch. I'm seeing the puck really well," Kolzig said. "The way this season has gone, I have underachieved, and this was a nice win."
Barring a major collapse, the Devils will be in the playoffs for the eighth straight season. They are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference - three points behind Boston and four in back of Ottawa and Toronto.
"You pay attention to the scoreboard," New Jersey's Scott Niedermayer said. "But we really just have to concentrate on ourselves. We're battling out there. Things aren't always going our way. We've got to stick with it and things will go our way."
The Devils skated to a 4-4 tie against visiting Minnesota on Tuesday in an uncharacteristically high-scoring game for both teams.
Brian Gionta had his third two-goal game of the season, including the equalizer with 6:27 left in regulation, as New Jersey went to 2-0-1 following a season-high three-game losing streak.
The Devils are 2-0-1 against the Capitals this season after winning the final three meetings in 2002-03.
STANDINGS (through Feb. 17): Devils - 72 points, 2nd place, 6 PB, Atlantic Division. Capitals - 45 points, 5th place, 27 PB, Southeast Division.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 17): Devils - Power play: 15.6 percent (34 for 218), 18th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.6 percent (166 for 194), 4th. Capitals - Power play: 19.7 percent (48 for 244), 6th. Penalty killing: 81.9 percent (230 for 281), 24th.
GOALTENDERS: Devils - Martin Brodeur (27-17-10, 10 SO, 2.01 GAA); Scott Clemmensen (1-0-0, 1, 0.00). Capitals - Kolzig (15-28-6, 2, 2.89); Maxime Ouellet (2-3-1, 1, 3.12).
SEASON SERIES: Devils, 2-0-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 17; Devils, 2-1, OT. At East Rutherford, N.J., Elias tied an NHL record, scoring his fouth overtime goal of the season at 2:17 of the extra period.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 14-6-7-0 on the road; Capitals - 9-14-4-1 at home.
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