Morning Skate: Capitals at Red Wings Preview

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Game 20

7:30p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

TV: Fox Sports Detroit, NHL Network

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Capitals Blog: Japers' Rink

Thirteen.

What's the significance of that number?

That's how many days it's been since the professional hockey team known as the Detroit Red Wings has won a game. You have to go back to the western Canada road trip for the last time the Wings earned two points. Oh, that game happened to be against one of the worst teams in the NHL, the Edmonton Oilers.

Since then we've seen players get waived, injured, return from injury and, hell, we even saw the coach's favorite player get scratched. And the results?

Notta.

Nothing.

Zip.

Ziltch.

Zero.

You would think that trend continues tonight. The Capitals have won five of their last seven games. They can score. They're top 10 in goals per game. Washington also dominates on special teams. Power play? A decent 2nd overall in the league. Penalty kill? What's that? Oh yeah, they have the best PK unit in the league.

So naturally what does this all mean? Other than the Caps being a decent team, it means the Red Wings should probably lose another game and extend their home losing streak to seven games. Last time Detroit won at the Joe was October 15. Yup. That's an entire month.

Of course, since when does anything ever happen like we expect it to go down? We'll likely see the Wings fire on all cylinders, Danny Cleary will score a PP goal and they win because we are all frustrated this team right now and expect them to lose. We'll forget that we're upset because a fourth liner who is a good person but an average, redundant player got waived and we'll all be chanting "Cuppy! Cuppy! Cuppy!"

It's been a real crappy almost two weeks to be a Red Wings fan.

Just win the damn game tonight… for all our sakes.

The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Henrik Zetterberg Pavel Datsyuk Todd Bertuzzi
Johan Franzen Darren Helm Daniel Alfredsson
Daniel Cleary Joakim Andersson Mikael Samuelsson
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Justin Abdelkader

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey Danny DeKeyser
Brian Lashoff Jakub Kindl

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard (starting)
Jonas Gustavsson

Scratches: Tomas Tatar

Injuries: Brendan Smith (shoulder), Stephen Weiss (groin)


CAPITALS THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
10-8-1 (21 pts; 2nd in Metro) Record 9-5-5 (23 pts; 4th in Atlantic)
3.00 (8th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.47 (21st in NHL)
2.84 (20th) Goals Against Per Game 2.58 (16th)
25.6% (2nd) Power Play % 18.6% (15th)
89.2% (1st) Penalty Kill % 85.5% (7th)
Alex Ovechkin (14 goals) Goal Leader Henrik Zetterberg (10 goals)
Alex Ovechkin (21 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (21 points)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Alex Ovechkin. I think this is pretty self explanatory.

X-Factor: Mikhail Grabovski. He's the center I wanted the Red Wings to sign this past offseason. He's got 17 points in 19 games (6G, 11A). He's pretty much guaranteed to scored a goal tonight.

Familiar Faces: Head Coach Adam Oates used to play for the Wings. Mike Green was drafted with the pick Ken Holland traded to Washington for Robert Lang.

Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Washington): It's our nation's capitol. America. F*ck yeah.

Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Washington): Politics can be pretty silly sometimes.

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 45-40-16-0 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Capitals.

  • Last 10 games: Washington 6-3-1. Detroit 3-2-5.

  • The Wings are currently 1-1-1 on Thursdays.

  • Howard is 1-1-0 with a 3.02 GAA, .878 SV% in 2 career starts against the Caps.

Prediction: Red Wings win 4-2. Cleary is your player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.

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