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WGD: Game 22: Red Wings vs. Capitals

For the first of three times this season, the Red Wings are going to face the defending Stanley Cup champions. Today’s match-up is a Thanksgiving matinee and the Red Wings have plenty to be thankful for. For one, their recent win streak has put them back into the playoff conversation at the quarter mark of the season. They’ll look to build on their momentum against one of the best teams in the league who have bounced back into the top-3 of the Metropolitan Division.

After a slow start to the season (can someone say “hangover”?), the Capitals are 6-3-1 in their last 10 and have won their last three games.

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

If there are changes to the Red Wings lines, we won’t know until game time since there won’t be a morning skate before the afternoon game. I don’t see why Blashill would tinker with these, though, especially since they’ve been winning games. The only thing I’d like to see changed is moving Bertuzzi up to the top line and Abdelkader down to the 3rd line. Both have been playing well, but Bertuzzi has reached new levels of dynamism this year. He’s earned top line play, in my opinion.

On the back-end, Ericsson is still out, making Blashill’s decision on who to dress easy. All eyes are still on Dennis Cholowski as Mike Green has been quietly putting up a surprisingly offensive season.

THE CAPITALS

Washington Capitals lines via DailyFaceoff

There haven’t been a whole lot of changes to this roster from last year. Alex Ovechkin’s 15 goals are tied for 2nd in the league and Nicklas Backstrom’s 18 assists are tied for 5th. They make a deadly one-two punch on the top line and Tom Wilson will deal a one-two punch to anyone who has their head down.

The Caps have a pretty defensively responsible blue line with Michael Kempny and John Carlson highlighting it and Dmitri Orlov and Matt Niskanen rounding out the top-4. They aren’t elite by any means, but you don’t need to be when you’ve got Braden Holtby behind you.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs Braden Holtby

Why not go with the hot hand? Jimmy Howard has been the best Red Wings player through their latest stretch of wins. If not for him, the team would be much further down the standings. While the team is doing a nice job of complementing Howie’s stellar play with goals, it’s hard to imagine this momentum without their goaltender’s play.

Braden Holtby hasn’t been lights out this year, but his play has been admirable. With a .909 save percentage and 2.99 goals against average, Holtby has backstopped the Caps to seven wins through his 14 starts. Holtby’s posted two wins in his last two starts, including a shutout against the Canadiens.

HOW TO WATCH

Don’t forget that puck drop is at 4:00 P.M. ET today out of Washington. You’ll be able to watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit, NBC-SW, or Sportsnet if you’re tuning in from Canada.

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