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Red Wings-Capitals Preview @NHLdotcom
Red Wings-Capitals Preview

GAME: Detroit Red Wings (19-8-2) at Washington Capitals (9-16-2).

TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.

The struggling Washington Capitals may be wishing they had Robert Lang back on their side.

They'll get their first look at Lang in a Detroit uniform when they host the Red Wings.

Lang played in 145 games for the Capitals over the previous two seasons. He had 51 goals and 92 assists before being traded to Detroit on Feb. 27, 2004 for Tomas Fleischmann and two draft picks.

So far Lang has eight goals and 16 assists for Detroit, while Fleischmann is playing at Hershey, Washington's AHL affiliate.

Lang and the Red Wings started the season 12-1 but have gone 7-9 in their last 16 games. Detroit beat New Jersey 5-2 on Tuesday to avoid losing three straight at home for the first time since 1996-97.

Brendan Shanahan scored two goals to move past Hall of Famer Mike Bossy into 15th place on the all-time list with 575.

"Bossy would've been higher on the list had he stayed healthier during his career," said Shanahan, who has 17 goals in 29 games this season. "But I never expected to have a career like this, so I have to say this is a thrill because I'm a big fan of him."

Tomas Holmstrom had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings, and Jason Williams added a goal to extend his points streak to seven games (3 goals, 7 assists).

Detroit captain Steve Yzerman, who also scored against the Devils on Tuesday, has 17 goals and 29 assists in 40 career games against the Capitals.

Detroit's NHL-best penalty killing unit is 9-for-9 in the last two games, and 22 of 23 over the last four.

With Lang gone, rookie sensation Alexander Ovechkin has taken over as Washington's leading scorer with 17 goals and 13 assists, but he hasn't had much help. Chris Clark is second in goals with six while Jeff Halpern is second in points with 17.

The Capitals suffered their sixth loss in seven games with a 5-2 defeat to Nashville on Wednesday. Ben Clymer scored for the Capitals and Ovechkin added a power-play goal, the only one of 10 man-advantage opportunities converted by Washington.

"When you have a (12.1)-percent power play, there's going to be some times out there where it just looks disjointed and dysfunctional and that's just where we're at," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said.

The Red Wings have defeated the Capitals 5-1 in their last two visits to Washington.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 8): Red Wings - 40 points, 1st place, Central Division. Capitals - 20 points, 5th place, 18 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Shanahan, 17 goals; Williams, 22 assists and 31 points; Chris Chelios, 60 PIM. Capitals - Ovechkin, 17 goals and 30 points; Halpern, 15 assists; Brendan Witt, 72 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 8): Red Wings - Power play: 25 percent (41 for 164), 1st in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.2 percent (150 for 176), 5th. Capitals - Power play: 12.1 percent (19 for 156), 29th. Penalty killing: 78.5 percent (154 for 196), 27th.

GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Chris Osgood (5-2-2, 3.10 GAA); Jimmy Howard (1-2-0, 2.36). Capitals - Olaf Kolzig (8-10-2, 3.38); Brent Johnson (1-5-0, 4.99).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 13, 2003; Red Wings, 5-1. At Washington, Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and two assists, and Kris Draper, Shanahan and Williams also scored to lead the Red Wings to victory.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Wings - 9-3-1 on the road; Capitals - 7-6-1 at home.

Associated Press

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