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GAME DAY: Red Wings host Capitals after 12-day break (7:30 p.m. ET, BSDET)

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Photo credit:Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
10 months ago
The Detroit Red Wings are back!
After enduring a huge COVID-19 outbreak and sitting on the sidelines for the better part of two weeks, the Red Wings will finally return to action on New Years’ Eve to play host to the Washington Capitals.
You’d be forgiven if you forgot the Red Wings’ most recent game, a 5–2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 18. @Dylan Larkin scored the first hat trick of his career in that game, with @Tyler Bertuzzi adding two goals of his own. @Thomas Greiss made 31 saves in the victory.
The Red Wings went without @Robby Fabbri, @Michael Rasmussen, @Filip Zadina, @Alex Nedeljkovic, @Givani Smith, @Carter Rowney, and coaches Jeff Blashill and Alex Tanguay in that game. They were later joined in COVID-19 protocol by @Pius Suter, @Joe Veleno, @Adam Erne, @Jordan Oesterle, @Lucas Raymond, and @Nick Leddy.
Leddy is the only Red Wings player who remains in COVID-19 protocol. On Thursday, Blashill confirmed that Leddy would not be available for Friday’s game.
The Capitals returned to action from a 10-day break on Dec. 29, defeating the Nashville Predators by a 5–3 score. Five different Capitals players scored goals in the victory, with @Evgeny Kuznetsov netting the go-ahead goal late in the third period.
Washington and Detroit have already met twice this season. Larkin scored in overtime to propel the Red Wings to a 3–2 victory on Oct. 27; then, on Nov. 11, Washington defeated Detroit by a 2–0 score at Little Caesars Arena.

The Red Wings

Detroit practiced with these lines on Dec. 30:
@Tyler Bertuzzi – @Dylan Larkin – @Lucas Raymond
@Robby Fabbri – @Pius Suter – @Vladislav Namestnikov
@Adam Erne – @Michael Rasmussen – @Filip Zadina
@Givani Smith – @Joe Veleno – @Sam Gagner
Danny DeKeyser – @Moritz Seider
@Jordan Oesterle – @Filip Hronek
@Marc Staal – @Gustav Lindstrom
Expect Alex Nedeljkovic (9–7–3, .916 SV%) to start against the Capitals.

The Capitals

Washington’s lines in Detroit could look like this:
@Alex Ovechkin – @Evgeny Kuznetsov – @Tom Wilson
@Conor Sheary – @Nicklas Backstrom – @Aliaksei Protas
@Connor McMichael – @Lars Eller – T.J. Oshie
@Carl Hagelin – @Nic Dowd – @Garnet Hathaway
@Dmitry Orlov – @John Carlson
@Michal Kempny – @Trevor van Riemsdyk
@Alexei Alexeyev – @Matt Irwin
@Ilya Samsonov (12–2–2, .907 SV%) will likely get the nod in Detroit.

Scoring leaders

Detroit: @Dylan Larkin (15 goals, 29 points); @Lucas Raymond (10 goals, 28 points); @Tyler Bertuzzi (12 goals, 21 points); @Moritz Seider (three goals, 21 points); @Filip Hronek (three goals, 16 points).
Washington: @Alex Ovechkin (22 goals, 48 points); @Evgeny Kuznetsov (10 goals, 31 points); @John Carlson (seven goals, 30 points); @Tom Wilson (nine goals, 24 points); @Dmitry Orlov (four goals, 16 points).

Players to watch

Detroit: 12 days without @Lucas Raymond … how did we survive? The 19-year-old Swede is just one point back of @Dylan Larkin for the team lead with 28 points in 31 games and is almost certain to be a finalist for the Calder Trophy at the season’s end. Raymond is putting together the best rookie season by a Detroit player in many years, one that may even surpass those of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.
Washington: What a start to the season @Alex Ovechkin has had. The 36-year-old forward has already surpassed his production from the 2021–22 season by six points in 13 fewer games and is on pace for 56 goals in a full 82-game season. He’s done this in spite of @Nicklas Backstrom, @Anthony Mantha, and T.J. Oshie all missing significant time due to injury. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Ovechkin capture the Hart Trophy for his performance this season.

Viewing and listening options

Friday’s Red Wings game will be broadcast on Bally Sports Detroit starting at 7:30 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.

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