Just one night after their win in the Stanley Cup Final rematch over the Vegas Golden Knights, the Capitals are back in action again. This time they head to New Jersey to take on the Devils (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington).
Here are three things you should be watching in the game.
Copley will get his first start as a Capital on Thursday in New Jersey. He was spared the challenge of Pittsburgh last week, but Thursday’s game will be a difficult one.
The Devils took part in the NHL Global Series with their opening game in Gothenburg, Sweden on Saturday. They have not played since. This will be a well-rested New Jersey team that will also be highly motivated as Thursday’s game will be their home-opener. Thursday’s game will also be the second in as many nights for Washington.
Chances are, the Caps are going to need a big game from Copley to win.
The Devils will also be without their starting goalie as Cory Schneider continues to work his way back from offseason hip surgery. Keith Kinkaid is expected to start for New Jersey.
The reigning Hart Trophy winner
This game will feature the reigning Hart Trophy winner in Taylor Hall. Hall put this Devils team on his back last season with 93 point. To put that into perspective, Nico Hischier finished second on the team in points last year with only 52. Hall absolutely carried this team to the playoffs.
Will he be turning that trophy over to someone from Washington at the end of this season? It could happen given the way Evgeny Kuznetsov has started the year off.
Goals, goals and more goals
Through three games this season, the Capitals have scored 18 times for a whopping average of six goals per game. That number is not going to be that high for very long when defenses around the league start to get their legs back under them. For now, however, the stars are having their way out there.
Kuznetsov leads the pack with seven points, while T.J. Oshie, John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom each have six. Alex Ovechkin has four goals and five total points. Heck, even Brooks Orpik has a goal and an assist.
An early season contest with two backup goalies in net could mean another scoring bonanza for the Capitals, similar to what we saw when they went to Pittsburgh the night after the opener and fell 7-6 in overtime.