Red Wings-Capitals Preview
Although the Detroit Red Wings are scoring goals in bunches during a lengthy point streak, few teams have been as stingy defensively as the Washington Capitals.
It'll be strength vs. strength when the Capitals return home Tuesday night for a matchup between two of the Eastern Conference's hottest teams.
The Red Wings (15-8-4) enter Verizon Center having earned a point in 10 consecutive games, while Washington had won six straight prior to Saturday's 2-1 loss to Winnipeg in the conclusion of a three-game trip.
Detroit is 7-0-3 during its longest point streak since a 10-0-2 stretch March 11-April 3, 2010. The club has racked up 14 goals in closing out a six-game homestand with three straight wins, the latest a 5-4 comeback win over Nashville in overtime Saturday.
The Red Wings rallied from a 4-2 third-period deficit with three unanswered goals capped by Gustav Nyquist's winner 45 seconds into OT.
"I thought it was great character by our guys," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We did a good job of staying patient and staying with it. We just kept coming and coming the second half of the game."
Rookie Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader also scored during the comeback. Abdelkader has four goals over a three-game streak, while seven of Larkin's team-high 11 have come in the last 10. Nyquist has compiled three goals and four assists over his last five.
"I think it's good to see that we're finally scoring some goals," Nyquist told the team's official website. "We struggled with that most part of the season so far but the last few games we've been able to put the puck in the net and that's a big thing, obviously, for us."
The Red Wings found offense harder to come by in two meetings with Washington (18-5-2) last month in Detroit. They earned a 1-0 victory Nov. 10 behind Petr Mrazek's 38 saves, but the Capitals came through with a 2-1 overtime win eight days later.
Detroit has mustered one goal in four straight matchups with the Capitals - three ending in Washington wins and all four started by Braden Holtby, the league's current leader in goals-against average (1.95).
Holtby had 34 saves against Winnipeg but his career-best eight-game win streak ended on a disputed goal by Mark Scheifele late in overtime. Coach Barry Trotz challenged the call, arguing that the Jets' Blake Wheeler was offsides, but it stood after a long review.
"We thought it was (offside) when it was originally live and then you look at the three different angles, it's no question," Trotz said. "But, they'll give you an inconclusive statement, I'm sure, protect their guys, but it is what it is."
Holtby has a 1.70 GAA while winning seven straight home starts and is 10-2-0 with a 1.84 GAA at Verizon Center, where the Capitals are 10-3-1 and have won four in a row.
Nicklas Backstrom scored against the Jets on the power play, where the Capitals are 7 for 16 in the last five and second in the NHL with a 25.6 percent success rate.
Playing without key penalty killer Drew Miller, who is out six weeks after breaking his jaw Thursday against Arizona, the Red Wings allowed three power-play goals to the Predators' Shea Weber on Saturday.