February 20, 2024

Bryce Salvador

Hey, Devils Fans!

Hopefully, we can keep the good vibes rolling tonight in WSH, following NJD's massive 6-3 win at MetLife Stadium! From my personal experience, it was a tremendous game and atmosphere to be a part of with my family! Erika and I will chat all about Saturday night during tonight’s pregame show at 6:30 PM, but, for now, here's a preview of my thoughts and a look ahead to tonight's game vs. WSH.

Well, Devils fans, there are so many guys deserving of credit for their performance on Saturday night — Bastian and Smith for their physical play & 4 combined points, to name a couple — but, it was Captain Nico who set the tone of this entire event from the very first shift, scoring the 2nd quickest outdoor goal in NHL history just 32 seconds in. For me, that opening goal was an immediate statement to the Flyers that this is Jersey’s home turf and the Devils were here to defend it! 

If there was ever a sample that encapsulated why Nico was given the 'C' on his sweater exactly 3 years ago today, Saturday's game and his overall recent stretch of play would be it. I love to point out the small, consistent details within the Captain's game that often fly under the radar — he plays all situations; is smart and responsible in the DZ; wins faceoffs; forechecks; backchecks; goes to the hard areas; blocks shots; etc. — but, when Nico adds that extra element of finesse to his game and becomes an offensive threat, as well? For me, that's when the Devils become one of the most dangerous teams in the NHL.

Hopefully, the Captain continues to feel it tonight in a building he, for whatever reason, seems to love playing in, that being Capital One Arena!

For the other Nico, a 23-year-old goaltender with just 37 games of NHL experience, to come in with the composure he did on that big of a stage (and set the record for the most saves ever in an outdoor game!), was just remarkable. Dawsy stood on his head in the middle frame and allowed the Devils to rediscover their game after PHI's surge, ultimately adding a historic performance and win to his resume. The entire game, and quite frankly, Nico's entire campaign so far, has been exemplary of his maturation as a young goaltender in this league. He's now looking at an opportunity to run away with the crease, as he's become one of the most dominant goaltenders in the NHL since the all-star break.

So, yes, I expect NJD#50 to get his 5th consecutive start tonight in WSH. He and the Devils will have to keep a very close eye on the Great 8, Ovi, who is currently riding an 8-game point streak — including 6 goals in his last 7 GP — and has already put up 5 PTS in 3 GP against NJD this season. This is another divisional game that the Devils have to win. The Caps’ 2-6-2 record in their last 10 games is no reason to take tonight off. Keep it rolling!


Subscribe to my newsletter

Subscribe for the latest highlights and content