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Preview: Red Wings at Capitals

Washington juggles power-play units; goaltender Jimmy Howard aims to help Detroit recapture early-season success

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

RED WINGS (8-8-1) at CAPITALS (10-4-2)

7 p.m. ET; FS-D+, CSN-DC, NHL.TV 

 

Red Wings team scope

Goaltender Jimmy Howard will start for the Detroit Red Wings for the fifth time in six games. Howard allowed five goals in his most recent start, a 5-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens last Saturday, after allowing eight goals in his previous seven games. The Red Wings are 2-6-1 in their past nine games after beginning the season 6-2-0. "We know we have to win games to get back into the race here," captain Henrik Zetterberg told MLive.com on Thursday. "It's still early, but we don't want to drop back too far."

 

Capitals team scope

Goaltender Braden Holtby will start for the Washington Capitals in the second game of a five-game homestand. Holtby made 25 saves in a 7-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday and is 6-2-0 against the Red Wings in his career. Washington scored power-play goals on a 5-on-3 and a 4-on-3 against Pittsburgh but has not scored a 5-on-4 goal since Oct. 29 at the Vancouver Canucks. Prior to Wednesday, the Capitals were 1-for-19 on the power play in their previous seven games. Coach Barry Trotz swapped defensemen Matt Niskanen and John Carlson on the first and second power-play units in hopes of sparking the offense. "The big thing is they start getting confidence on the power play," Trotz said. "It doesn't matter; 5-on-3, 4-on-3. We start feeling it a bit and hopefully that's all you need. The power play in a lot of ways has been fine, but the end result they haven't gotten."

 

Red Wings projected lineup

Justin Abdelkader -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Gustav Nyquist

Luke Glendening -- Frans Nielsen -- Dylan Larkin

Tomas Tatar -- Riley Sheahan -- Anthony Mantha

Tyler Bertuzzi -- Steve Ott -- Drew Miller

Danny DeKeyser -- Mike Green

Jonathan Ericsson -- Alexey Marchenko

Niklas Kronwall -- Ryan Sproul

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Xavier Ouellet, Brendan Smith

Injured: Tomas Jurco (back), Thomas Vanek (middle body), Andreas Athanasiou (lower body)

 

Capitals projected lineup

Marcus Johansson -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Andre Burakovsky

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Justin Williams

Zach Sanford -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- Matt Niskanen

Dmitry Orlov -- John Carlson

Brooks Orpik -- Nate Schmidt

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Daniel Winnik, Taylor Chorney  

Injured: None

 

Status report

Zetterberg, Abdelkader and Nielsen were not on the ice for the optional morning skate; however, coach Jeff Blashill said everyone who played in the previous game, a 4-3 home loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, would be available against the Capitals. Jurco and Vanek skated but will not play. Blashill said Jurco needs one more week of practices before going to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League for conditioning and coming back to Detroit. ... Williams did not participate in the morning skate because of a family matter, but is expected to play.

Who's hot

Sproul had a goal and an assist against the Lightning on Tuesday. ... Backstrom has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past two games.Orpik has two assists in two games after having one assist through his previous nine games.

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