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Morning Skate: Win This Game

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No more of this crap. It's time to put up or shut up.

Forget the injuries. Forget the road woes. Forget all the excuses. It's now or never tonight against the Washington Capitals.

After arguably the ugliest stretch of hockey this team has played all season, the Red Wings return home for a date with a team that whooped their asses 7-1 in October. The Caps have not been a good hockey team this season. This is the offensive power house from the last five years. It's a team that barely sits 8th in the East. On top of that, they played last night in Chicago and lost 5-2. I don't care if the Caps are desperate and want to win to make up for last night. I just don't flat out care.

The Red Wings NEED to be the desperate team. They've dropped all the way to 5th in the West and no longer have home ice advantage in the first round. The Red Wings NEED to make up for this craptastic losses all of last week. Time is running out to turn this slump around. The team can no longer wait for reinforcements to arrive. Lidstrom is not playing. Helm is out. Franzen could be too. Work with the roster you have. Work your ass off on the ice. Work your way to two points. It's not fun watching losing hockey. It's not fun watching the Wings fall down the standings. It sure as hell won't be fun to see this team miss 100 points for the season either.

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Japers' Rink is your SBNation Captials' blog.

Puck drop is just after 7:30p ET on Fox Sports Detroit.

The Expected Lineup [Updated 11:30]

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Valtteri Filppula -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Jiri Hudler

Gustav Nyquist -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Todd Bertuzzi

Danny Cleary -- Justin Abdelkader -- Drew Miller

Jan Mursak -- Cory Emmerton -- Tomas Holmstrom

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Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart

Kyle Quincey -- Ian White

Brendan Smith -- Doug Janik

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Jimmy Howard (starting)

Jordan Pearce

Injuries: Patrick Eaves (concussion), Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle), Jonathan Ericsson (wrist), Jakub Kindl (oblique), Joey MacDonald (back), Johan Franzen (back) and Darren Helm (knee)

CAPTIALS HOW THEY MATCH UP RED WINGS
36-30-6 (78 pts; 8th in East) Record 44-24-4 (92 pts; 5th in West)
2.65 (13th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.97 (6th in NHL)
2.81 (22nd) Goals Against Per Game 2.39 (4th)
16.6% (16th) Power Play % Will Score Tonight
80.7% (22nd) Penalty Kill % 81.7% (18th)
Alex Ovechkin (30 goals) Goal Leader Johan Franzen (26 goals)
Alex Ovechkin (54 points) Points Leader Pavel Datsyuk (60 points)

  • The Red Wings are 45-39-16-0 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Washington Capitals franchise.
  • Filppula has 59 points this season. Ovechkin has 54. Crazy, eh?
  • Detroit is 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. That's the second worst record for any team in the league in that same time span. Only the Wild are worse at 2-7-1.
  • I hope the Wings remember the 7-1 embarrassment in Washington earlier this season. Thankfully, this game is at the Joe and Ty Conklin won't be in net. I'd love to a 7-1 Wings win, but right now I'll just take any kind of win.
  • Tomas Vokoun is 10-20-4 with 3.16 GAA .908 SV% and one shutout all-time against the Wings. Jimmy Howard saved 26 of 28 shots in his only game against the Capitals, a 3-2 Red Wings win.

Prediction: They have to win this game. They just have to. The best players need to be the best players tonight. Jimmy needs to stand tall. Hank and Flip need to continue to be Euro Twins 2.0. Datsyuk needs to go into bad ass "I'm the best Russian in the world" mode. Wings win 3-1. Pavel Datsyuk is the player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.