After an exciting win last night against the Los Angeles Kings at home, the Red Wings are heading to Washington, D.C. to take on the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Washington Capitals.
The Red Wings have been surprisingly good for the last couple of weeks, a couple of bumps here and there but nothing really slowing down this pace after their horrible start. They’re playing .500 hockey right now and that’s about where we all expected them to be.
Meanwhile, the Caps are doing much better than expected, as well. The dreaded Cup Hangover was more of an off-ice storyline than it is a reality on the ice – this team has won ten of their last thirteen games, an incredible mark for a team that is supposed to be old and tired.
Ovechkin is leading by example so far this season, a total of 22 goals in 26 games leads his team by an insane margin – the next best is Backstrom’s 10 goals. In a total of 24 games against the Red Wings, Ovi has scored 13 goals and 23 points – so let’s see if he will continue that pace tonight.
Red Wings Lines
The forward lines are staying the same as they have been the past couple of weeks. Without Mantha on that top line, they are still able to outscore opponents 5-2 at even-strength – which is saying a lot when Justin Abdelkader is up there with Larkin and Nyquist. They’re not even getting really lucky either, it’s a small sample size but they are still getting a lot more high-danger scoring chances than the opposition while they are on the ice.
On the blueline, Trevor Daley is seeing his second game in two days after he’s come back from injury – playing just under 20 minutes last night, the same will most likely happen tonight next to Kronwall. Nothing else really needs to be said about this blueline, they’re old and mostly slow – hooray.
The Capitals are still fairly deep and they’re without two (arguably) top-6 forwards in Burakovsky and Wilson. They can hit you from multiple angles with a lethal powerplay that can put the game to rest in just a couple minutes – so since the Wings are one of the most penalized teams in the league, this might turn into a man advantage bloodbath.
The six defencemen that the Caps will be playing against the Wings are all so underrated league-wide and can really be up there in the top-10 of blueline groups. Carlson’s play speaks for itself, but Orlov, Kempny and even Djoos have been historically not be mentioned enough for how much they bring to the reigning Cup Champions. They are all pretty two-dimensional defencemen, able to keep up offensively and defensively with any team in the league – essentially, they’re good.
Between the Pipes
Jonathan Bernier vs. Braden Holtby
Bernier will be starting this game since Howard started last night. He last played against the Islanders in a 3-2 defeat, but honestly could have been blamed for a lot of the performance. The team allowed only 19 shots on goal for the entire 60 minutes, but Bernier still let in 3 goals to lose them the game. Bringing his save percentage to .893, his role as the backup looks to be a little bleak.
Holtby has been extremely consistent for the past couple years and this season is no different. A .911 sv% might look not terrific, but considering that last year it was at .907, it’s still a pretty important improvement. The Capitals netminder is coming off a 28-save shutout against the Blue Jackets over the weekend.
How to Watch
Puck drop is at 7:30 pm ET at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The game will be available on NBC Sports.
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