Ever since a sluggish 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders after the All-Star break, the Washington Capitals have been unstoppable. Not only is Washington’s offense exploding, but the defense is thriving and hasn’t allowed a goal in their last two games. The Capitals are looking for their fifth straight victory against the Detroit Red Wings Thursday.
The Capitals already hold a comfortable lead over the Metropolitan Division and the National Hockey League, but can leave Verizon Center with its 11th straight home win. Detroit finds themselves playing for as many victories as possible since they are just five points out of playoff contention.
Detroit Red Wings at Washington Capitals
Verizon Center- 7:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – CSNMA, FCSR
2016-17 Season Series:
Nov. 18- Red Wings 0 Capitals 1
Washington Capitals – 37-11-6, 80 Points
Home Record: 22-5-1
Hot Players: Nicklas Backstrom, Brett Connolly, Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams
Brett Connolly-Lars Eller-Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik-Jay Beagle-Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner-John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov- Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik-Nate Schmidt
Detroit Red Wings- 22-21-10, 54 Points
Away Record: 11-9-5
Hot Players: Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Vanek, Anthony Mantha
Gustav Nyqvist-Henrik Zetterberg, Anthony Mantha
Tomas Tatar-Riley Sheahan-Dylan Larkin
Andreas Athanasiou-Darren Helm-Thomas Vanek
Tomas Jurco-Luke Glendening-Justin Abdelkader
Dan DeKeyser-Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson-Nick Jensen
Brendan Smith-Ryan Sproul
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Brett Connolly has been dominant for the Capitals of late, and is riding a four-game point streak. He has two multi-point performances in those four matchups and has a goal in three of his last four. Now that he is coming full circle, he is flourishing into a huge asset and scorer on the Capitals’ bottom-six.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Red Wings’ centre Riley Sheahan notched an assist in Detroit’s 3-2 overtime loss to Columbus Tuesday. With the helper, he broke a lengthy seven-game point drought, which may ignite a spark and help him continue scoring. Sheahan has not scored a goal this season and has just eight assists in 51 games.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]Detroit’s power-play success of 11.4 percent is the worst in the league, and they struggle to score goals night in and night out, averaging just 2.4 goals per game. Considering the Capitals’ offensive arsenal, and recent spark of scoring ability, Detroit will have to find a way to produce against Washington if they want to keep up. If they can’t, they’ll have to limit the Capitals’ offense in the best way possible.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Braden Holtby, who earned his seventh shutout of the season Tuesday, will get the nod for the Capitals. He is 7-2-0 in his career against the Red Wings, posting a 1.75 GAA and .938 save percentage in nine career games against Detroit. Petr Mrazek has allowed nine goals in his last three games, but he has a 1.54 GAA and .944 save mark, as well as a 1-2-1 record in four career games against Washington.
Sammi Silber covers the Capitals beat for The Hockey Writers and is an NHL contributor with Sporting News. She has also contributed to USA TODAY College, Huffington Post, FanSided and the Nation Network. Silber has written four books and recently worked on graphics for the film, The California Golden Seals Movie.