Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

GAME DAY: Wings aim to capitalize on momentum in Washington

After two days off, the Detroit Red Wings will return to action Wednesday against the Washington Capitals with the intent to continue the good habits that led them to a 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 24.

Wednesday’s matchup is a long time coming. Detroit and Washington were scheduled to play at Capital One Center on Mar. 12, 2020; due to the emerging prevalence of COVID-19 in North America, the game was postponed and, later, cancelled.

The Red Wings haven’t played a game in the District of Columbia since Dec. 11, 2018, when they lost to the Capitals by a 6-2 score. Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick for Washington while Dylan Larkin and Gustav Nyquist tallied for Detroit. Goaltender Jonathan Bernier barely lasted half the game before being replaced by Jimmy Howard.

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Only three Detroit players from that game remain with the team: Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Michael Rasmussen. They’ll all be in the lineup Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET to try and help the Red Wings continue their surprising early-season success.

The Red Wings

Detroit scratched defenseman Filip Hronek on Sunday for the second consecutive game. We expect he’ll return to the lineup on Wednesday.

Here’s how the Red Wings practiced on Tuesday:

Tyler BertuzziDylan LarkinLucas Raymond
Robby FabbriPius SuterFilip Zadina
Vladislav NamestnikovMichael RasmussenAdam Erne
Carter RowneyMitchell StephensSam Gagner

Danny DeKeyser – Moritz Seider
Nick LeddyFilip Hronek
Marc StaalTroy Stecher

Alex Nedeljkovic will likely start for the Red Wings on Wednesday after stopping 32 of 35 shots against Chicago.

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The Capitals

Washington went with these lines and pairings against Ottawa on Monday:

Alex OvechkinNicklas BackstromTom Wilson
Anthony ManthaConnor McMichael – T.J. Oshie
Carl HagelinLars EllerGarnet Hathaway
Conor ShearyHendrix LapierreDaniel Sprong

Martin FehervaryJohn Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Nick Jensen
Trevor van RiemsdykJustin Schultz

Ilya Samsonov started for the Caps in Canada’s capital and let in five goals on 37 shots. Expect Vitek Vanecek to man the pipes for Washington against Detroit.

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Scoring leaders

Detroit: Tyler Bertuzzi (six goals, nine points); Dylan Larkin (two goals, seven points); Lucas Raymond (four goals, seven points); Moritz Seider (zero goals, five points); Vladislav Namestnikov (three goals, four points).

Washington: Alexander Ovechkin (seven goals, 12 points); Evgeny Kuznetsov (four goals, nine points); Tom Wilson (zero goals, seven points); T.J. Oshie (four goals, five points); Anthony Mantha (two goals, four points).

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Players to watch

Detroit: It’s nice to see Vladislav Namestnikov off to a productive start in 2021–22. The 28-year-old winger already has three goals and an assist in six games; in 53 games with Detroit last year, Namestnikov had just eight goals and 17 points. There are still some reasons to be concerned about Namestnikov’s play-driving but if the goal is to move him before the trade deadline, he’s already helping his stock.

Washington: How can it not be Alex Ovechkin? The 36-year-old winger is chugging along at better than a goal-per-game pace to start the season and appears to be dead-set upon surpassing Wayne Gretzky’s NHL career goal-scoring record. If Ovi can score 50 goals this season, he’ll only be 112 away from Gretzky’s 892 — with four years still remaining on his contract.

Viewing and listening options

Wednesday’s Red Wings game will be broadcast on Bally Sports Detroit and NBC Sports Washington Plus, starting at 7:00 p.m. ET. It’ll be sent over the airwaves on WXVT-FM 97.1 “The Ticket” in the Detroit area, as well as on the Red Wings’ official website.