The Red Wings had a late-game surge on Tuesday, but they were unable to hold the Lightning off and now sit at .500 for the season (8-8-1).
Even with Steven Stamkos only playing two minutes, the Red Wings couldn’t climb out of an early hole and now they’re in danger of losing a third straight game. The Red Wings find themselves back on the road for one-game in Washington, before returning to Joe Louis Arena on Sunday.
The Red Wings find themselves in danger of losing a third consecutive because the Capitals seem to have woken up after a tough week. Prior to Wednesday they had lost three of four, but absolutely pounded the Penguins 7-1 two nights ago.
As good as Washington has been in recent year, they’re a team that the Red Wings have played well against. In the last nine meetings between Detroit and Washington, the Red Wings have gone 3-2-4, with seven of the nine games being decided by one goal or a shootout. In those nine games, the Red Wings have averaged 2.44 goals for and 2.78 goals against. Let’s see how they stack up this season (spoiler: not very well.)
|Detroit Red Wings||Washington Capitals|
|Goals For||2.47 GF/PG (20th)||2.81 GF/PG (11th)|
|Goals Against||2.76 GA/PG (t-18th)||2.25 GA/PG (5th)|
|Power-Play %||17.5% (15th)||14.3% (21st)|
|Penalty-Kill %||76.9% (27th)||83.3% (14th)|
|Corsi For %||45.79% (30th)||51.91% (7th)|
THE RED WINGS
Darren Helm suffered a dislocated shoulder in Tuesday’s loss and will miss 6-8 weeks, so the Red Wings recalled Tyler Bertuzzi from Grand Rapids (AHL) again and he will draw into the lineup tonight. Bertuzzi’s promotion will likely only last one game, because Thomas Vanek is expected to play on Sunday, when he is eligible to be activated from long-term injured reserve.
A lot was made about Luke Glendening playing on the second line on Tuesday, but he registered an assist and was a 57.14 CorsiFor% at even strength. It was a solid game for the usual fourth line centre, so he will start Friday night in the same spot. That second line was arguably the Red Wings best line in that game, so it will be the only line that goes unchanged. Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist will swap spots, but as I continue to say, it’s only a matter of time before Tatar breaks through.
On the blueline, Brendan Smith is expected to be a healthy scratch for the second straight game, which means that Niklas Kronwall and Ryan Sproul will both play. It would be difficult to take Sproul out of the lineup after he recorded his first career NHL goal to go along with an assist on Tuesday. The offensive-minded defenseman now has four points (1G / 3A) in six games.
After messing around for a few games, Barry Trotz went with some more conventional lines on Wednesday and boy did it pay off. Nicklas Backstrom had a ridiculous five points (2G /3A) versus the Penguins with T.J. Oshie following closely behind with four (2G / 2A). Surprisingly, Alex Ovechkin was limited to one point, but he is tied for the team-lead in goals with eight—tied with Oshie.
Evgeny Kuznetsov enjoyed a breakout season in 2015-16, but has stumbled out of the gate in 2016-17, picking up just seven points (2G /5A) in his first 16 games.
Similar to the Red Wings, the Capitals haven’t had a lot of goals from their defenseman in the early going. Their regular six blueliners have combined for just three goals.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
The Red Wings have already confirmed that Jimmy Howard will be back in goal for the Red Wings, which isn’t surprising when you consider that Petr Mrazek struggled on Tuesday, especially on the game-winning goal. Howard wasn’t very good in his last outing either, but the team in front of him didn’t provide much support. Overall, he is 4-3-0 with a 1.80 GAA and .943 SV% in eight appearances this season, including a 2-1-0 record on the road. Not that it really matters, but Howard has gone 3-1-3 with a career 3.15 GAA and .890 SV% in eight career starts against the Capitals.
Howard will go head-to-head with one of the better goalies in the NHL, as Braden Holtby is expected to get the call for Washington. Holtby comes in having won five of six games in the month of November, while stopping 166 of 178 shots (.933 SV%). Over his career, Holtby has dominated the Red Wings, going 6-2-0 with a 1.97 GAA and .931 SV% in eight starts.
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. ET at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit-PLUS or listen to it on 97.1 FM The Ticket.
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