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

NHL: Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

No surprises on defense from this morning

The forward lines are also as-expected, but both Booth and Witkowski were taking rushes, so we’ll wait on an update on which of those guys will get in.

In terms of how the Howard pull in Toronto might have affected the plan for Mrazek to start this game, Khan reported that Petr was in the starter’s net at the skate, although Gregg Krupa listed Howard.

We’ll go with Khan on this one.

UPDATED LINEUPS

DETROIT RED WINGS

Forward Lines

Anthony Mantha - Henrik Zetterberg - Gustav Nyquist

Tomas Tatar - Dylan Larkin - Justin Abdelkader

Martin Frk - Frans Nielsen - Darren Helm

Luke Glendening - Riley Sheahan - Luke Witkowski

Defence Pairings

Niklas Kronwall - Mike Green

Jonathan Ericsson - Trevor Daley

Xavier Ouellet - Nick Jensen

Goaltenders

Petr Mrazek

Jimmy Howard

Power Play Unit

PP1 – Nyquist, Zetterberg, Abdelkader, Tatar, Kronwall

PP2 – Larkin, Nielsen, Mantha, Frk, Green

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Forward Lines

Alex OvechkinEvgeny KuznetsovJakub Vrana

Tom WilsonNicklas BackstromT.J. Oshie

Brett ConnollyLars EllerAndre Burakovsky

Devante Smith-PellyJay BeagleAlex Chiasson

Defense Pairings

Christian DjoosJohn Carlson

Brooks OrpikMadison Bowey

Dimitri Orlov – Taylor Chorney

Goaltenders

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Power Play Unit

PP1 – Kuznetsov, Backstrom, Oshie, Ovechkin, Carlson

PP2 – Vrana, Connonlly, Burabovsky, Djoos, Orlov

Keys to the Game

Power Play/Penalty Kill

For the third time this week the Red Wings are facing a very dangerous power play. Special teams proved important in the Tampa Bay game but not as much against Toronto. This time around it is not just about shutting down the opposing power play (although that first unit for the Capitals is about as scary a power play unit you will see in the league), it is about getting their own power play converting again. Washington has a middle of the pack penalty kill and the Red Wings absolutely need to take advantage of that fact.

Avoid the Costly Mistakes

Every team makes mistakes during the course of the game. The Red Wings just seem to make really bad (i.e. easily avoidable) mistakes that more often than not end with them fishing the puck out of their own net. This is double, if not triple, true for the defensemen. Poorly line change decisions, indecisiveness, lack of communication and poor puck management have led to some easy chances and back breaking goals the last two games. That is something that the Red Wings absolutely need to clean up going forward in order for them to be competitive with the good teams in the NHL.