Coming off a huge defeat of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Caps host the Detroit Red Wings tomorrow night in the second game of a five-game home stand.
The Red Wings (8-8-1) come into this game having lost two straight. They rank 12th in the Eastern Conference and second-to-last in the Atlantic Division. After the “retirement” of Pavel Datsyuk this offseason, the Red Wings have struggled heavily. Led in scoring by Gustav Nyquist, Henrik Zetterberg, and Mike Green (yes the former Capital), the Red Wings have struggled to keep opponents from scoring, as they have been outscored 47-44 this season.
Young goaltender Petr Mrazek, who usurped incumbent veteran Jimmy Howard as the starter last season, has struggled, going 4-5-1, with a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.16 and save percentage of .901.
The Red Wings’ special teams have not been particularly special, as their power play is ranked 16th in the NHL with a success rate of 17.46%, and their penalty kill has been one of the worst in the league, ranking 28th with a success rate of 76.92%.
– Longtime Capitals defenseman Mike Green returns to the Verizon Center for only the second time as a visitor (his first being last season). He is tied for the team lead in points with 11 (three goals, eight assists), and is averaging 23:52 minutes of ice time a night.
– Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg has 12 points ( six goals, six assists) in 17 career games played against the Caps.
– 20-year old Dylan Larkin scored a goal and had two assists in his first three career games against the Capitals last season.
The Capitals are coming off a dominating 7-1 defeat of the Pittsburgh Penguins and look to continue their promising start to their five-game homestand. The Caps are led in goals by Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie, both with eight. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom both had two goals in Wednesday’s contest and Ovechkin also scored in the aforementioned 7-1 win.
Special Teams: The Capitals’ special teams have started to come to life after a very slow start to the season. The penalty kill had an impressive performance against the Penguins, as Oshie scored a shorthanded goal on the Penguins’ first power play of the game. It currently ranks 13th with a success rate of 83.33%. The Caps scored on the power play twice against Pittsburgh, however, it still ranks 22nd in the league.
– Alex Ovechkin has scored 10 goals and has 18 points in 17 career games played against Detroit. Seven of those goals have come on the power play.
– Justin Williams has 14 points (seven goals and seven assists) in 26 career games against Detroit.
– Defenseman Dmitry Orlov has three points (one goal, two assists) in his last four games.
The Capitals won the season series last season, going 2-1-0. Two of the three games were played in Detroit and goalie Braden Holtby played all three games, going 2-1-0 with a GAA of 1.30 and save percentage of .947, both outstanding numbers.
Game 1 proved to be an extremely close game, as the Caps failed to find the back of the net in a 1-0 loss.
Game 2 was a relatively low-scoring affair, as both teams combined for just three goals, with Larkin and Justin Williams scoring in regulation for their respective teams, and Caps center Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the overtime winner.
Game 3 saw both teams locked in yet another close game, with Ovechkin and Williams scoring regulation, and Oshie scoring the shootout winner in an eventual 3-2 win.
By Michael Fleetwood