Game Preview: Red Wings at Capitals


The Capitals continue their four-game home stand Thursday night when they play host to the Detroit Red Wings. Opening face-off is set for 7:00 PM.

The Red Wings start a three-game road trip when they visit Verizon Center Thursday night. Detroit will next visit Columbus and Minnesota to wrap up the trip this weekend. The Wings are 4-2-4 in their last 10 starts, and playing a little better as of late.

On Tuesday the Wings lost 3-2 in an overtime-thriller against Columbus at “The Joe”. Prior to that Detroit amassed a pair of one-goal victories over the Predators and the Islanders last weekend.

However, the Red Wings’ current 25-season postseason appearance streak is the longest active streak of any of the four major North American professional sports leagues (NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB), but that stretch is in serious jeopardy. The Red Wings (22-21-10) are currently 6 points out of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Division.

Special Teams:
The Detroit Red Wings power play is the worst in the league, with a 11.4% success rate. The Red Wings penalty kill is currently 16th in the league with an 81.4% success rate, for a combined special teams index of 92.8. The current league mean-average for the special teams index is 100.8.

Shots Fired:
Detroit is 25th in the league in shot attempts per game at an average of 28.4%. The Red Wings are giving up the 13th most shots per game at an average of 30.7 shots per game.



The Capitals (37-11-6) continue to fire on all cylinders, and remain atop the NHL standings. The Capitals offense continues to post gaudy stats in 2017. Here are just a few:

  • Washington has scored 5+ goals in nine straight home games, becoming the first team to do so since Calgary in March of 1990.
  • The Caps have an NHL-high 10 players with double-digit goals (Ovechkin, Oshie, Williams, Johansson, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Beagle, Burakovsky, Connolly & Eller).
  • The Caps third line now has 21 goals in the last 21 games (10-20-65 unit).
  • The Capitals improved their 1st period goal differential to plus-35 on season (58-23).
  • The Capitals have now scored the first goal in 16 of last 18 games.

In addition, the defense and goaltending are also playing at a top level.

  • The Caps have posted three sets of back to back shutouts since January 1st.
  • The Caps have posted six shutouts in the last 17 games.
  • Braden Holtby has a .930 save percentage and a 1.94 goals against average.
  • Holtby is 12-0-0 since January 1st.

It looks like Taylor Chorney and Zach Sanford, who was called up from Hershey this week, will be the healthy scratches for Thursday’s game.

Special Teams:
captureOn Tuesday night, the Capitals power play scored two power play goals against Carolina, the league’s top-ranked penalty kill, As a result, the Capitals power play ranking has jumped all the way up to 7th best in the league, with a 21.5% success rate.

The Capitals penalty kill was a perfect 3 for 3 against Carolina on Tuesday night, and as a result, have climbed back to 4th-best in the league, with an 84.7% success rate. The Capitals special teams index has climbed to 106.2, its third highest index rating for the entire season. The league mean average special teams index is currently 100.8.

Shots Fired:
The Capitals remain 18th in the league in shots attempts per game with an average of 29.5 shots per game. Washington is giving up the 7th fewest shots per game with an average of 28.3 shots per game.

This is the second of three meetings between the two teams. The Caps beat the Red Wings 1-0 at Verizon Center back on November 18th. The game is unfortunately remembered as the game in which TJ Oshie sustained an upper body injury. Oshie would seven games due to the injury.

Series Flashback:


  • The Caps have scored at least five goals in nine straight home games, a franchise record.
  • Washington is the first NHL team to score as many as five goals in nine straight home games since the 1989-90 Calgary Flames.

Red Hot Caps Host Red Wings (Mike Vogel)

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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