Streaking Capitals play host to Devils

( – The Washington Capitals will try to extend their longest
winning streak of the season to four games when they welcome the New Jersey
Devils for Friday’s clash at Verizon Center.

Washington had lost five in a row before stringing together recent consecutive
wins over Chicago, Carolina and Columbus. The most recent triumph came in
Tuesday’s 4-2 victory over the Blue Jackets.

Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson each scored twice to lead the Capitals past
visiting Columbus. Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky each posted two
assists, while Braden Holtby stopped 24 shots for Washington.

Johansson has four goals over the last four games and with eight markers this
season he is tied with Ovechkin for the team lead. The 24-year-old Swede’s
career high in goals is 14 set back in 2011-12.

“He’s playing really well,” said Washington head coach Barry Trotz of
Johansson. “He’s skating, he’s shooting pucks, he’s getting big goals for us.”

The Caps are closing out a three-game homestand tonight and are 4-2-3 in D.C.
this season.

While Washington aims for its first four-game winning streak since April 5-11
of last season, the Devils hope to pick up a second straight victory after
halting a four-game slide.

New Jersey had lost four straight in regulation before snapping the skid with
Tuesday’s 3-1 home win over the Minnesota Wild. Mike Cammalleri scored the
eventual game-winning goal for the Devils midway through the second period,
while Cory Schneider picked up his first victory since Nov. 1.

Schneider earned the win with a 23-save performance, including several
acrobatic denials in the closing minutes.

“The team needed it,” said Schneider, who had given up 12 goals the previous
four games. “That’s the way they need me to play all the time. It was good to
come up with some big (saves).”

Schneider will get the call again tonight, giving New Jersey’s No. 1 his 17th
straight start between the pipes. He could get his first rest of the
season from backup Keith Kinkaid, who has yet to make his first NHL start,
when the Devils host Colorado on Saturday.

Tuomo Ruutu also potted a goal on Tuesday for the Devils, who won despite
going 0-for-6 on the power play prior to Travis Zajac’s empty-netter on a 5-
on-4 situation.

Devils forward Adam Henrique is questionable for Friday with a lower-body
injury after missing the previous four games. Fellow forward Ryan Clowe
(concussion) and defensemen Jon Merrill (arm) and Bryce Salvador (lower body)
are out.

New Jersey is 4-5-0 as the road club this season and lost a 6-2 decision in
Washington back on Oct. 16. The Devils have lost two straight and three of
their last four games in D.C., but have taken eight of 11 overall in this