Nov. 30 vs. Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Radio: Capitals Radio 24/7, 106.7 FAN
Washington Capitals 18-4-5
Detroit Red Wings 7-18-3
The Capitals conclude their fourth set of back-to-back games this season on Saturday night in the Motor City when they face the Detroit Red Wings for the first of three meetings this season.
For the first time since Oct. 4, the Caps won the front end of the back-to-back set on Friday night, coming back from a 3-1 third-period deficit to earn a 4-3 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Capital One Arena. Dmitry Orlov supplied the late heroics, scoring the first overtime game-winner of his NHL career at 3:03 of the extra stanza to give Washington its second straight win.
Friday's victory sends the Capitals off on a four-game, weeklong road trip that starts on Saturday in Detroit. Washington finished the three-game homestand with a 2-0-1 mark, and it now takes to the road where it owns a dazzling 10-2-1 mark this season.
"We're comfortable wherever we play," says Caps goalie Braden Holtby. "I don't think we can rely on past statistics like [their road record], but we can tap into how we had that success; playing good road games - simple, hard.
"Structurally, you have to be sound to have success on the road, so it will be a good test [Saturday] night, going into a game where it can be one of those where you let up a little bit, and make sure we realize that those two points are the same as any other game, go in and keep getting better and play our game."
With Friday's overtime win over Tampa Bay, the Caps have now earned 11 of their season's total of 41 points in games in which they have trailed by two or more goals at one point. In five of their 18 victories this season, Washington has been down by two or more goals at one point.
Thus far this season, the Capitals are 2-0-1 on the second half of back-to-back games, and both of those wins came via the shootout in games in which Washington trailed in the third period. After Holtby earned his 12th win in his last 15 starts (12-1-2) on Friday, Ilya Samsonov will be making his first start in just over two weeks on Saturday against the Red Wings.
With three games in a span of four nights looming in California after Saturday's date with the Wings in Detroit, the Caps know they can't get caught overlooking the Wings. Detroit dropped a 6-1 road decision to the Flyers in Philadelphia on Friday night.
"We were able to watch a little bit of the first period [of Detroit's Friday game in Philly]," says Caps coach Todd Reirden, "and they played really well to start the game. So I was surprised to see the score after.
"I was surprised to see that because I thought they had a good start to the game. They're going through some injuries and a little bit of a rebuild there. But they work extremely hard, and that's something we're going to have to match [Saturday]. Despite the travel, we've got to be on top of our game against a team that's had a couple of tough losses, so they're going to be extremely desperate."
As Reirden notes, Detroit is in the midst of a rebuilding season, and the Red Wings have also been battered by injuries. They're currently playing without starting goaltender Jimmy Howard, a trio of regular defensemen in Trevor Daley, Danny DeKeyser and former Cap Mike Green, top goal scorer Anthony Mantha, and bottom six forward Justin Abdelkader.
Friday's game in Philadelphia was a 1-1 contest heading into the final minute of the first, but Philadelphia poured on five unanswered goals to win in a rout. The loss was the eighth straight defeat for the Red Wings, and each of the last six have been regulation setbacks. The Wings have been outscored by a combined 34-14 over the life of their current losing streak.
This is Detroit's second eight-game losing streak already this season. After winning three of four at the outset of the season, the Red Wings went 0-7-1 over their next eight games. They've permitted four or more goals in 15 of their 28 games this season, but they've also defeated the likes of Dallas, Boston and Vegas, all at home. The Wings carry a three-game home losing streak into Saturday's contest with the Caps.