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Red Wings at Capitals: Gameday Updates, Line Combinations, Key Matchups

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NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
The Expected Lineup
Powerplay Units
  1. Nyquist-Zetterberg-Abdelkader (net front), Green-Sproul
  2. Tatar-Nielsen-Larkin, Mantha (net front), Kronwall
The Capitals' Lineup

Some changes from the lines the Caps last used, the pairings are all a bit different and Winnik draws into the lineup for the struggling Justin Williams.

Key Matchups:

Alex Ovechkin vs Checking Line

Alex Ovechkin has 1 goal in his last 5 games. That either means he’s going to continue to stay cold, or he’s due for a billion goals. If he’s matched up against the 4th line, as he usually is when we play the Caps, I’d lean towards the latter. Containing Ovechkin should be the basis for any strategy against the Capitals, so keep an eye on #8 tonight. Even with this slump, he’s still on pace for another 40 goal season. That’s not someone you take lightly.

Special Teams

Neither team has been particularly good on special teams. Out of the four special teams units, the Wings’ powerplay and the Capitals’ penalty kill are by far the best. Even with Ovechkin on the powerplay for Washington, that’s the matchup to watch tonight.

It’s a bit surprising that two teams with so many talented forwards would be struggling to put the puck in the net on the powerplay, but here we are. Mantha and Sproul gave the Wings a boost on the man advantage last game, let’s hope their presence in the lineup helps us again tonight.

Snakebites galore

The list of players who are “due” for a goal is seemingly endless between these two teams. Tomas Tatar is certainly due, as is Evgeny Kuznetsov. Dylan Larkin hasn’t had the best start, and Gustav Nyquist has slowed down after the first ten games. Alex Ovechkin just broke a 4 game goal-less drought against the Penguins. Justin Williams has just three points in 16 games. Frans Nielsen is just starting to get comfortable with the team. There’s a lot of firepower between the Caps and Wings. 12th and 15th in goals for, respectively, isn’t where I’d expect them to end up at the end of the year.