As frustrating as things have been for the Capitals the past few weeks, it is practically nothing compared to what tonight's opponent has dealt with all season.
The New Jersey Devils visit Verizon Center tonight sporting a dismal 9-21-2 record for a 20-point total that is the second-lowest in the league.
The Devils have lost eight of their last 10 games, have dropped eight straight on the road, and are coming off of a 7-1 loss in Atlanta on Saturday their last time out.
Still, they beat the Caps, 5-0, in the teams' last meeting Nov. 22, and Washington certainly isn't in a position to take anybody lightly.
"I look at their lineup, and their top two lines are as good as anybody's," Coach Bruce Boudreau said of a group that includes Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk. "I mean they've still got a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer in net and they're probably really ticked off that they lost 7-1. We better be ready."
The Devils have had significant injury issues all season, and winger Zach Parise (knee) headlines a list of players who remain out dealing with longterm ailments that also includes three of their regular defensemen.
Aforementioned future-Hall-of-Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur missed about two weeks earlier in the year with an elbow injury, and veteran forwards Jamie Langenbrunner (sore neck) and Brian Rolston (sports hernia) also missed significant time.
Brodeur was pulled in the middle of the loss to the Thrashers, but he is expected to make his sixth straight start tonight.
"For all the things that have been terrible about us, it's a little bit worse for them," Caps winger Mike Knuble said. "We know how they're feeling but we're trying to climb out of a hole ourselves, so we're not worried about them. We need to get some wins going."
The Caps finally snapped their eight-game losing streak on Sunday with a 3-2 win in Ottawa, but a loss to the lowly Devils tonight would kill any of the good vibes that came out of that victory.
"We've won one game. One stinkin' game," Boudreau said. "We've got to continue winning. Our division is so strong right now and playing so well that we need to continue to have success."