Preview: Capitals at Red Wings
The Washington Capitals look to match their effort in the final 40 minutes of regulation last time out and snap a three-game losing streak when they visit the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. The Capitals outshot Dallas 29-10 in the final two periods before dropping a 2-1 road decision in overtime Friday after surrendering 11 goals combined in setbacks against Nashville and St. Louis.
“The message from me was that if we play a second and third period like that, then we’re going to win a lot of games,” Washington coach Todd Reirden told reporters. “That’s the lowest shot total (two) we’ve held an opponent to in a third period. … It’s a shame we only leave with one point.” The Capitals have earned at least a point in 10 straight games (8-0-2) in the series after recording a pair victories this season against the Red Wings, who snapped a six-game losing streak Friday with a 4-3 overtime triumph against Nashville. Detroit, which was 1-7-3 in their previous 11 contests, rallied from a two-goal deficit but gave up a late third-period goal for a tie before leading scorer Dylan Larkin recorded the winner in the extra session. “You keep getting kicked and life is always about getting back up,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill told the Detroit Free Press. “Our guys have continued to get back up. We’ve got a big game ahead of us on Sunday. But we’ve been able to do a good job of keeping our focus on getting better, individually and collectively as a group.”
TV: 5 p.m. ET, NHL Network, NBCS Washington, FS Detroit
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (24-12-4): Washington has dropped to 10th in the league on the power play (22.1 percent) entering the weekend after converting just one of 27 attempts over the last nine contests. Captain Alex Ovechkin, who leads the league with 30 goals and the team with 46 points, has been part of the problem with just one tally in his last eight contests while veteran center Nicklas Backstrom (44 points) has just four assists during the same stretch. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov has also cooled off after a hot start to the season, managing two points in the past six games.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (16-20-7): Veteran forward Thomas Vanek scored his 364th career goal - seventh of the season - in his 1,000th NHL game Friday with plenty of family and friends in attendance. “I was a kid in Austria dreaming about playing one game in the NHL, and now I’ve got a thousand, I get a goal and we win,” Vanek told the media. “ … It was perfect.” Larkin (40 points) also tops the team in goals (18) and notched at least one point in 15 of his last 16 contests while fellow forward Andreas Athanasiou has registered four of his 15 tallies in the last five games.
1. Detroit RW Anthony Mantha (hand) had three shots and two hits in his return to the lineup Friday after missing 15 games.
2. Washington G Braden Holtby, who allowed 11 goals in his last two games, is 11-2-2 with a .926 save percentage all time versus Detroit.
3. The Red Wings have had power-play problems of their own, going just 1 of 17 in the past seven contests.
PREDICTION: Capitals 5, Red Wings 2