Thursday evening National Hockey League action and the Metro Division will square off with the Atlantic Division as the Washington Capitals duke it out with the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Capitals are off a 4-2 home win over the Stars, while the Red Wings are off a 5-4 shootout win at home over the Flyers. Goalie Probables: Getting the nod for the Capitals will be Philipp Grubauer and the Red Wings will counter with Jimmy Howard.
Carlson Lifts Caps To Big Win Over The Stars
The Washington Capitals haven’t clinched a spot just yet, but they will be in the postseason and they now have a four-point lead over the Penguins in the battle for the top spot in the Metro Division. The Capitals enter this game off a hard-fought 4-3 home win over the Dallas Stars and they have now won five of their last six games. This is a team that will again be a handful in the postseason. John Carlson has been playing well of late and it was his goal with just 4:59 left in the game that was the winner for the Capitals. He has now notched at least one point in six-straight games and he now has 15 goals on the year. Also scoring in the win was T.J. Oshie, which was his 16th of the year, Matt Niskanen, which was his 6th of the year and Alex Ovechkin, which was his league-leading 44th of the year. The Capitals have gone 16-20 on the road for the year and they have averaged
Grabbing the win against the Stars was Braden Holtby, who stopped three goals on 27 shot attempts to improve to 31-19 with a 3.03 GAA and a .906 save percentage on the year. Getting the nod in this one will be Philipp Grubauer and he has gone 11-12 with a 2.37 GAA and a .922 save percentage on the year, including 5-9 with a 2.62 GAA and a .917 save percentage on the road. In his career, he has gone 20-28 with a 2.56 GAA on the road and 16-13 with a 1.96 GAA against the Atlantic Division. This would be his first-career start against the Red Wings.
The Capitals come into this game ranked 10th in the league in scoring at 3.10 gpg, while also ranking 31st in shots taken (28.9 spg) and 5th in power play conversions, converting on 22.7% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been below average so far as they come in ranked 17th in goals allowed, giving up 2.96 gpg, while also ranking 14th in shots allowed (31.9 spg) and 18th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 20.4 % of their chances.
Ten-Game Losing Streak Is Over
It has been a while since the Detroit Red Wings have tasted victory, but they enter this game off a 5-4 shootout win over the Flyers to end the 10-game losing streak that they were one. It had to end at some time and the Flyers were hoping that it wasn’t against them as they are fighting to stay in the playoff race. The Red Wings have nothing to [lay for yet this year, so they played the role of spoiler in this game. The offense finally showed up some in the game as they score four goals after averaging just 1.90 gpg over their previous 10 games. The bad news is that it was their 5th game in a row and their 9th in their last 10 games that they allowed four goals or more in a game. Scoring in the win was Dylan Larkin, who scored twice and now ha 11 on the year, Luke Glendening, which was his 9th and Evgeny Svechnikov, which was the first of his career, while it was Frans Nielsen that got the deciding goal in the shootout. The Red Wings have gone 14-22 here at home and they have averaged
Grabbing the win against the Flyers was Jimmy Howard, who stopped 27 of the 31 shots that he faced to improve to 19-34 with a 2.89 GAA and a .909 save percentage on the year, including 13-18 with a 2.81 GAA and a .909 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 125-110 with a 2.40 GAA in his home games and 25-30 with a 2.44 GAA against the Metro Division, while against the Capitals he has gone 4-5 with a 3.00.
The Red Wings have been a poor offensive team so far as they come in ranked 28th in the league in scoring at 2.52 gpg, while also ranking 27th in shots taken (30.2 spg) and 23rd in power play conversions, converting on 17.6% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been rather poor so far as they check in at 23rd in goals allowed, giving up 3.11 gpg, while also ranking 16th in shots allowed (31.9 spg) and 22nd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 22.2% of their chances.
- 67-23 in their last 90 vs. the Atlantic
- 63-28 in their last 91 games playing on one days rest
- 26-58 in their last 84 vs. a team with a winning record
- 4-10 in their last 14 home games
A lot of times when a long losing streak is broken, a team will win in their next game as well. That will not be the case here. The Red Wings have nothing to play for, while the Capitals are playing for a division title. The Caps have won five of their last six games, while the Red Wings have gone just 1-10 in their last 11 games and Jimmy Howard has gone 4-5 with a 3.00 GAA in his career against the Capitals. Washington has Grubauer in the crease for this one and while the record may not reflect it, he has played very well for them, plus he has a 196 GAA in his career, against the Atlantic Division. Take the Capitals in this one, especially since they have won five of the last seven games in this series.