Red Wings-Capitals Preview
GAME: Detroit Red Wings (17-10-3-1) at Washington Capitals (9-18-1-1).
TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Washington Capitals were successful in their first game under new coach
Winning consecutive games for the first time this season figures to be much
more difficult, considering their next opponent is the Western
Conference-leading Detroit Red Wings.
Peter Bondra, Jaromir Jagr and Matt Pettinger scored in a 2:52 span of the
first period and the Capitals held on for a 6-5 victory over visiting Boston in
Hanlon's first game as an NHL coach Thursday.
Hanlon replaced Bruce Cassidy, who was fired 28 games into his second season
with the team Wednesday. Thursday's win moved the Capitals out of the NHL
"It was a fun night," Hanlon said. "It's been a long time, about 15
months, since I was behind the bench and the players were sharp."
Right wing Dainius Zubrus played a key role as Washington ended a three-game
losing streak. He had a goal and two assists, played 25 minutes and helped
limit Bruins captain Joe Thornton to one assist.
"Tonight was all about emotion and trying to get the guys to ride that,"
Hanlon said. "They did a good job. It was fun."
Although he has taken much criticism for his team's performance this season,
Jagr continues to produce. He has recorded a point in 15 of his last 16 games,
totaling seven goals and 18 assists during that span. Jagr is sixth in the NHL
with 32 points, while teammate Robert Lang is tied for second with 35.
The Red Wings became the first team in more than a month to lose to the
Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. Mark Bell poked a weak shot past Curtis Joseph
15 seconds into overtime to give Chicago a 4-3 victory.
Detroit, playing without 10 injured regulars, needed a goal from Brendan
Shanahan with 68 seconds left in regulation to earn a point against one of the
NHL's worst teams.
"It's important that we get the points that we can right now," defenseman
Mathieu Schneider said. "We're a little tired. We're depleted. You've got to
respect the work ethic we brought, especially after the first period. We came
back with a couple strong periods. I think we really did a good job."
Detroit's injured regulars are goalies Dominik Hasek and Manny Legace,
defensemen Derian Hatcher and Chris Chelios and forwards Steve Yzerman, Ray
Whitney, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom, Steve Thomas and Darren McCarty.
Third-year center Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist Thursday, giving
him seven goals and five assists in his past six games. He is fifth in the NHL
with 33 points.