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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, February 8th (All times Eastern)

New Jersey Devils (24-21-13) at Washington Capitals (26-23-9), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Two of the teams involved in the Eastern Conference's logjam for a playoff spot square off on Saturday night when the Washington Capitals play host to the New Jersey Devils.

Both the Caps and Devils have 61 points on the season, putting them three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The 61 points is also three back of the Detroit Red Wings for eighth place in the East.

Washington is 4-2-1 in its last seven games and had to rally in the third period to best the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 on Thursday. The Capitals trailed by a goal heading into the frame, but Tom Wilson tied the contest 3:38 into the third and Alex Ovechkin's league-leading 40th goal of the campaign was the winner at the 7:46 mark.

Troy Brouwer added his second tally of the contest in the period to add insurance and Braden Holtby made 34 saves.

"We came out, we started winning battles and as a result we were holding the puck a little bit more -- creating some more opportunities," Brouwer said of Washington's strong third session. "Good defensive play, which led to some rushes offensively."

Ovechkin reached the 40-goal mark for the sixth time in his career and owns a 10-goal lead over Toronto's Phil Kessel for the most in the NHL.

Washington concludes a four-game homestand tonight before the league goes on break for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Caps forward Marcus Johansson found out on Friday he will be heading to Sochi, Russia to participate after getting selected to replace the injured Henrik Sedin on Team Sweden.

The Devils, meanwhile, look to record a point in a fifth consecutive game, having gone 2-0-2 over the last four. Each of their last four games have gone to overtime, including last night's 2-1 triumph over the Edmonton Oilers.

Rookie defenseman Jon Merrill scored his first career goal and it was the winner with 2:26 remaining in the bonus frame.

Michael Ryder set up the score, taking the puck away from a scrum along the right-wing boards then dishing between the circles for Merrill, who ripped a shot off the near pipe and in.

The 22-year-old Merrill had posted four assists in 30 NHL games this season before recording his first tally.

"You always dream about that kind of stuff when you're a little kid," Merrill said. "I'm sure my phone will have some texts, but I'll probably reach out to my father, first and foremost. It's good to get the first one. It's a huge win for the team, as well. That's most important."

Andrei Loktionov provided the other goal to back 19 saves from Cory Schneider for the Devils, who had failed to hold third-period leads in each of their previous three games.

Jaromir Jagr had an assist in the game, giving him 1,039 for his career. That puts him just one helper back of matching Marcel Dionne for ninth on the league's all-time list.

The Devils have won both of their earlier meetings with the Capitals this season and have taken eight of the previous 12 encounters overall.

New Jersey has won four of its last five in Washington.

02/08 16:02:50 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ECU 56
TEMPL 70
Final
NCCU 69
NCAT 58
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
MIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
TOR
 
Final
DET 4
ATL 6
 
Final
TAM 2
BAL 3
 
Final
PIT 1
NYY 2
 
Final
HOU 6
PHI 3
 
Final
MIA 1
STL 4
 
Final
SFG 8
CHC 6
 
Final
CIN 3
CLE 9
 
Final
CWS 1
LOS 6
 
Final
ANA 3
MIL 2
 
Final
CHC 2
OAK 2
 
Final
SEA 9
SDP 4
 
Final
KAN 5
TEX 4
 
Final
ARI 4
COL 3
 
Final
WAS 5
NYM 4
 
Final
MIN 9
BOS 8
 
Final
BAL 5
TOR 0
 
1:05pm Today
STL
HOU
 
1:05pm Today
BOS
MIA
 
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TAM
MIN
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
NYY
 
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ATL
WAS
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
BAL
 
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NYM
DET
 
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SDP
CWS
 
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CHC
CIN
 
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CLE
KAN
 
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MIL
LOS
 
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TEX
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SEA
 
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ANA
COL
 
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ARI
OAK
 
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NYY
PIT
 
Final
CHI 108
OKC 105
Final
POR 94
DAL 75
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IND
CHI
 
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WAS
MIA
 
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ORL
SAC
 
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CHA
TOR
 
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PHI
UTA
 
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ATL
CLE
 
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NOP
BOS
 
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HOU
DET
 
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MEM
LAL
 
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BRK
PHO
 
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SAN
DEN
 
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GSW
DAL
 
Final
MDES 89
MRGST 76
 
Final
SIENA 71
NIAG 54
Final
LEH 62
AMER 68
 
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SCAR 74
ARK 78
Final
LAF 89
BU 64
 
Final
PETE 63
FAIR 33
Final
BUCK 90
HC 83
 
Final
UNF 71
LIP 57
 
Final
TENNM 65
MORE 76
Final
COL 72
NAVY 62
 
Final
ECU 56
TEMPL 70
Final
FATL 62
UAB 59
Final
FLGC 62
USCU 63
 
Final
CHAR 84
WKENT 88
Final
MINN 63
WISC 76
Final
MIZST 48
SILL 55
Final
COPST 92
DELST 104
 
Final
FIU 59
MTST 54
Final
HAMP 69
NORST 80
 
Final
NCCU 69
NCAT 58
 
Final
COOK 72
SCST 62
 
Final
APP 67
TXST 64
 
Final
GSOUT 76
TXARL 64
 
Final
LAMON 50
UGST 58
 
Final
ODU 67
MARS 50
Final
TXSA 74
RICE 76
Final
FAM 64
SAV 57
 
Final
LATU 72
SMISS 61
Final
JST 72
ALAAM 54
 
Final
GRAM 46
ALAST 78
 
Final
TXSOU 94
ALCOR 73
 
Final
NICST 77
CARK 70
 
Final
TAMCC 85
HOUB 72
 
Final
NARZ 58
PORST 51
 
Final
LAM 61
SHSU 67
 
Final
ARKST 76
SALA 81
 
Final
PVU 73
SOUTH 77
 
Final
LALAF 75
ARKLR 69
 
Final
NO 85
SELA 79
 
Final
INCWORD 64
ABCHRIST 52
 
9:00pm Thursday
MVSU 0
ARKPB 0
 
Final
ARZ 99
CAL 60
Final
WASH 47
COL 64
Final
WEBER 74
IDAHO 63
 
Final
UCONN 53
MEM 54
Final
UTEP 83
UNT 60
Final
STEPH 92
NWST 66
 
Final
SUTAH 69
SACST 65
 
Final
DAVID 82
VCU 55
Final
IDST 81
EWASH 85
 
Final
QUIN 74
MAR 80
Final
BEL 97
EILL 64
Final
DRAK 50
BRAD 52
Final
LBSU 69
CSNO 58
 
Final
UCI 68
CSFU 62
 
Final
UCD 61
UCR 59
 
Final
ARST 67
STAN 62
Final
WASU 59
UTAH 67
12:00pm Today
MVSU
ARKPB
 
12:00pm Today
CSOU
LONG
 
1:05pm Today
WICHS
SILL
 
2:00pm Today
RAD
WINT
 
3:35pm Today
ILLST
EVAN
 
6:00pm Tonight
HIGH
GWEBB
 
6:00pm Tonight
UNCG
SAMF
 
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ELON
TOWS
 
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
AKR
 
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BUF
BGU
 
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DART
BRO
 
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WMICH
CMICH
 
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PENN
CLMB
 
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PRIN
CORN
 
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OU
ILLCH
 
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OHIO
UMO
 
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BST
NILL
 
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EMICH
TOL
 
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NIOWA
BRAD
 
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MURST
MORE
 
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CCAR
UNCA
 
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HARV
YALE
 
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DREX
COC
 
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CITA
FUR
 
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USF
PAC
 
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BAY
TTU
 
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EKENT
BEL
 
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CLST
DET
 
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INDST
LOYC
 
11:30pm Tonight
SCU
LMU
 
Final
BOS 3
CAL 4
Final
WAS 1
MIN 2
Final
PHI 3
STL 1
Final
FLA 3
DAL 4
Final
TAM 4
TOR 2
Final
NAS 3
NYI 4
Final
ARI 3
VAN 2
Final
LOS 4
MON 3
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NJD
CLB
 
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CAR
MIN
 
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OTT
BUF
 
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DET
CAL
 
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
EDM
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
PIT