Things can get a little chippy when NHL teams face each other two games in a row. So watch closely tonight when the Capitals host the New Jersey Devils. Because if there are any altercations on the ice, they almost certainly will carry over to Saturday’s rematch. Both games will be at Verizon Center – a quirk of the lockout-shortened NHL schedule. The Devils arrived in town on Wednesday night and won’t leave until after Saturday afternoon’s second game. That travel arrangement is an every-day occurrence in baseball, but far less common in hockey outside of the Stanley Cup playoffs. So will we see playoff-level skirmishes this weekend?
“Guys don’t really forget,” Washington forward Wojtek Wolski said. “I know guys that have kept grudges for a full year until you play a team the next time and you still remember what happened. So this being two nights after, I’m sure that it’s going to be highly competitive.”
The Caps face a similar scenario on March 21 and 22 when they travel to Winnipeg to face the Jets on consecutive days. That route takes some players back to their AHL days in Hershey when seeing the same opponent was a fiscal help to budget-strapped minor-league teams and not just a scheduling quirk.
Washington defenseman Karl Alzner said he last played a team at the same site two games in a row on Jan. 8 and 9, 2010 when Hershey traveled all the way to Manitoba for games on a Friday night and Saturday night in Winnipeg. The site of those games? MTS Centre, where the Manitoba Moose played then and where the Jets play now after moving to Winnipeg prior to last season from Atlanta.
“I personally don’t love it like that. I personally like to see different teams,” Alzner said. “That’s one thing that I didn’t really like [in the AHL] was having to see [Wilkes-Barre/Scranton] it seemed like four or five times in two-and-a-half weeks. I like to have a bit of a change. But at the same time it’s good for us and for learning. We get to really test things out against a team that plays the same way as us. So that part is kind of cool.”
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