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WGD 74: CAPITALS @ RED WINGS

The Hockey Team from Detroit is staying at home to face one of the hottest teams in the whole league. Winning 5 of their last 6 games, the Washington Capitals come to play with cup-aspirations in mind. They are playing some damn good hockey late in the season – let’s hope for Ovi’s sake that they won’t face the Penguins in the playoffs again.

After seeing this hockey club’s first win of the month, spirits are high for the future. Young tooth-less Russian Machine Evgeni Svechnikov notching his first NHL goal put a twinkle in every Wings fan’s eye – something bright to come out of this disastrous 2018.

Let’s hope for an entertaining game from both sides – going for the tank or not, you have to hope to see a couple goals from the young Wings.

The Red Wings

Red Wings Lines via DailyFaceoff

LW C RW
Tyler Bertuzzi
TYLER BERTUZZI
Henrik Zetterberg
HENRIK ZETTERBERG
Gustav Nyquist
GUSTAV NYQUIST
Darren Helm
DARREN HELM
Dylan Larkin
DYLAN LARKIN
Anthony Mantha
ANTHONY MANTHA
Andreas Athanasiou
ANDREAS ATHANASIOU
Frans Nielsen
FRANS NIELSEN
Justin Abdelkader
JUSTIN ABDELKADER
Martin Frk
MARTIN FRK
Luke Glendening
LUKE GLENDENING
Evgeny Svechnikov
EVGENY SVECHNIKOV
LD RD
Jonathan Ericsson
JONATHAN ERICSSON
Trevor Daley
TREVOR DALEY
Niklas Kronwall
NIKLAS KRONWALL
Mike Green
MIKE GREEN
Dan DeKeyser
DAN DEKEYSER
Nick Jensen
NICK JENSEN

This mish-mash of different skill sets has provided some interesting games this season – especially Tuesday night’s game against the Flyers. Highlighted by beautiful Russian boy Evgeni Svechnikov‘s first NHL goal, that game provided some of the most entertaining hockey we have seen all season from this group. All that I hope for is more minutes for our young players like Svechnikov, Martin Frk, and Andreas Athanasiou. All three of those players didn’t play over 13 minutes on Tuesday – meanwhile Danny DeKeyser is on for almost 25.

Speaking of defenceman and minutes, not seeing Xavier Ouellet get any gametime recently is disappointing. I’m sure we’re all tired of Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall, and Danny DeKeyser soaking up minutes on the left-side. It’s been 20 days since we’ve seen the Frenchman on the ice, c’mon Jeff.

Positives – Dylan Larkin is really really good.

The Capitals

Capitals Lines via DailyFaceoff

LW C RW
Alex Ovechkin
ALEX OVECHKIN
Nicklas Backstrom
NICKLAS BACKSTROM
Tom Wilson
TOM WILSON
Andre Burakovsky
ANDRE BURAKOVSKY
Lars Eller
LARS ELLER
T.J. Oshie
T.J. OSHIE
Brett Connolly
BRETT CONNOLLY
Travis Boyd
TRAVIS BOYD
Jakub Vrana
JAKUB VRANA
Chandler Stephenson
CHANDLER STEPHENSON
Jay Beagle
JAY BEAGLE
Devante Smith-Pelly
DEVANTE SMITH-PELLY
LD RD
Christian Djoos
CHRISTIAN DJOOS
John Carlson
JOHN CARLSON
Dmitri Orlov
DMITRI ORLOV
Matt Niskanen
MATT NISKANEN
Michal Kempny
MICHAL KEMPNY
Jakub Jerabek
JAKUB JERABEK

Aside from Human Garbage Fire Tom Wilson, this is an extremely-likeable team on the ice, and off the ice. Whoever does not smile when they see Alexander Ovechkin fire a one-timer and shriek like Putin himself gave him the assist, is no friend of mine.

Still out of the line-up is Evgeny Kuznetsov, unfortunate for the Caps to not have their runner-up in points this season – they are still a terrifying team without him. Kuznetsov had 7 points in his last 3 games before his injury, so the Wings should be thanking the Hockey Gods they do not have to face a red-hot Kuzy.

On the blueline, current point leader by defenceman, John Carlson and his band of merry defencemen are so damn good at exiting the zone and getting their elite forward group the puck. Trade deadline additions Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek have contributed well to this group. Providing nice depth on the blueline for a team hopeful to make a deep run in this year’s playoffs.

Between The Pipes

Jimmy Howard vs. Philipp Grubauer

Jimmy is starting after somewhat earning the win against the Flyers on Tuesday night. He stopped 27 of 31 shots against, for a  .871 sv% on that win. In the last ten games, Jimmy has put up a .904 sv% and his average for the entire season is sitting at a .909 sv% currently. So even with the team losing in front of him, Howard is keeping it bang-below-average.

Philipp Grubauer is having one hell of a season to match with his excellent young career. At just 26 and under-100 NHL games played, the German is keeping his cool behind this Capitals team this season. He has a .922 sv% in his 30 GP and is 5th in the entire league in 5v5 sv%, with .933 – dead-even with Bobrovsky, to get an idea of the kind of season Philipp is having. He is a game-changer to have as a back-up to Holtby and you can argue that he should be the #1 goaltender for the Caps heading into the playoffs.

Where To Watch

Tonight’s game will be broadcast Nationally, for everyone to see Ovi fire a one-timer through the soul of Jimmy Howard. Puck drop is at 7:30pm EST on NBCSN.

Personally, I can’t wait to hear Doc say “Abdelkader”.

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