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newjerseydevils.com – After pulling off a major trade before Tuesday's deadline in hopes of helping to make their first playoff appearance in five years, the Washington Capitals suddenly have three quality goaltenders on their roster. The New Jersey Devils, meanwhile, are doing just fine with Martin Brodeur.
With newly acquired Cristobal Huet set to start, the Capitals try to move closer to the Southeast Division lead and pick up a rare win in New Jersey when they face the surging Devils on Friday.
New Jersey defeated Washington 3-2 at the Prudential Center on Dec. 7, and has won eight of the last nine home meetings. The Devils, 7-1-1 at home since Feb. 2, are 19-6-1 against the Capitals in New Jersey since the start of the 1995-96 season.
The Devils (37-21-6) are 9-2-0 against the Caps since the start of the 2005-06 season, including Sunday's 2-1 overtime win in Washington. John Madden's 18th of the year sealed the victory with 49.6 seconds left in the extra session.
While Washington's goalie situation is unsettled, New Jersey's is as clear as they come. Brodeur has started the last 23 games for the Devils, and is 7-0-2 with a 1.74 GAA since Feb. 9.
Brodeur has been in net for each of New Jersey's victories over the Capitals this season, and is 12-1-0 with one tie, one shutout and a 1.82 GAA in his last 14 starts against them.
Brodeur made 34 saves Tuesday, but New Jersey suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to Carolina that ended its five-game winning streak.
Madden was held without a goal in Carolina after scoring in each of his previous three games. The centerman has scored in each of his last two games against the Capitals.
Washington (29-27-8) hasn't been to the playoffs since 2003, but is just behind first-place Carolina in the Southwest. Despite being second in their division, the Capitals are in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, five points out of the final playoff spot.
Believing that a move was necessary to make the postseason, Washington acquired the veteran Huet from Montreal on Tuesday.
Huet opened the season as the Canadiens' top goalie. Now he joins Olie Kolzig, who has been Washington's No. 1 goaltender for the last 10 seasons, and backup Brent Johnson, who had been getting more playing time lately.
Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau has not decided how he will rotate his netminders, but announced Huet will start against New Jersey.
Huet stopped just 10 shots in a 4-3 Montreal victory over the Devils on Jan. 24, his only start of the season against them. He had lost his first six starts against New Jersey, posting a 3.29 goals-against average in those games.
Kolzig, 22-19-6 with a 2.98 GAA on the season, turned aside 34 shots in a 4-1 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday that snapped the Capitals' three-game losing streak.
Brooks Laich had two goals and two assists, and has four goals in his last four games. Alex Ovechkin, though, was once again unable to find the back of the net.
Ovechkin leads the NHL with 48 goals, but hasn't scored in a career high-tying six games. Ovechkin, who scored nine goals in the seven games immediately before his drought, doesn't have a goal in the three contests against the Devils this season.with wire services