Photo: NHL/Getty Images
The Capitals will visit the Detroit Red Wings looking to get back in the win column after dropping four of its past five games. This will be the team’s first visit to Little Caesars Arena since it opened this season. The Red Wings are currently one point in front of the Capitals for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference Standings, which makes tomorrow night a big game for both teams. Washington won last year’s season series, going 2-0-1 in three games against the Red Wings.
Detroit Red Wings
After missing the playoffs for the first time in a quarter of a century last season, Detroit has started 4-3-0. They recently bowed down to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who also defeated the Capitals 2-0 on Tuesday, by a 6-3 score. Detroit also lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday by a 3-2 final.
The Red Wings offense, led by former Capital Mike Green with a goal and 9 points, has scored 23 goals in its first seven games. Those 23 goals tie the Capitals and the St. Louis Blues for eighth in the league. Henrik Zetterberg and Dylan Larkin have started strong, putting up eight points each and so as Anthony Mantha with seven points (3 of them goals).
While their offense has been strong, their defense has given up 21 goals in those seven games and goaltender Jimmy Howard has a 2.54 goals against average. They added Trevor Daley in the offseason but he has an even rating and four penalty minutes. Besides Green, no other defensemen have scored more than two points for the Red Wings so far this season.
The Capitals have lost four of their past five games. They open their second set of back-to-backs this season against the Red Wings on Friday. They come back home to host the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
The Capitals’ offense started out strong but were not able to generate any goals on Tuesday against the Maple Leafs, despite putting up 30 shots on Fredrick Andersen. Because of the lack of offense against the Leafs and in an 8-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers last Saturday, they switched up their forward lines at practice on Thursday. Trotz reunited last year’s third line of Andre Burakovsky, Lars Eller, and Brett Connolly who were strong together.
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Their defense improved in Tuesday’s game at the Maple Leafs and was arguably the high note of the game of the loss. They only gave up two goals, one of which was an empty net goal. The team had 24 hits, 9 takeaways, and two penalties while killing three. Though they did turn the puck over 12 times and only blocked 9 shots. Tuesday’s game is something to build on. Braden Holtby was sharp stopping 28 shots but it is no guarantee he will start on Friday, especially because of the back-to-back.
A look back in time:
The last time these two teams met was February 18 when the Capitals were coming off their bye week. After trailing by two goals in the third period, the Capitals tied it by goals from former Capitals Zach Sanford and Daniel Winnik. The game went to a shootout but it was Detroit who got the best of the Capitals at the end.
-Washington is 48-53-18 all-time against Detroit, including an 8-2-2 record since Detroit moved to the Eastern Conference in 2013-14
-John Carlson has 4 goals and 11 points in 15 career games against Detroit
-This is already the fifth game out of eight the Capitals have played against Atlantic Division teams this season
By Harrison Brown