RED WINGS (15-8-4) at CAPITALS (18-5-2)
TV: NBCSN, SNE, SNO, SNP
WASHINGTON -- Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green has already played against his former team, the Washington Capitals, twice this season. He'll return to the Verizon Center for the first time since signing with the Red Wings during the offseason Tuesday.
He admitted that it was a little strange to be in the visitor's locker room after 10 seasons going to the one down the hall.
Green has been playing top minutes with defensive partner Niklas Kronwall and despite missing some time because of injury, he has 11 points in 21 games this season.
"I think it's tough to find where you fit in at times but the guys made me feel welcome and it was an easy transition in that sense," Green said. "Things have gone well here; the team's playing great so that's always a positive."
No NHL defenseman has come close to Green's 31 goals in 2008-09. While in Washington, he was part of a core of players that revitalized the franchise along with forwards Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Green had 360 points in 575 games with the Capitals.
"I was just a piece of the puzzle," Green said. "I didn't do anything spectacular other than enjoy playing the game here. It's exciting to see how far it's come since when I first started."
Washington defenseman Karl Alzner and forward Marcus Johansson will play against Detroit on Tuesday. Both missed practice Monday but skated Tuesday morning.
Alzner has played in 401 consecutive games and that streak will remain intact; the last game he missed was Dec. 28, 2008.
"From a minutes standpoint, it's pretty impressive this day and age cause the game's played very fast and especially for defensemen who are going back to retrieve pucks, they're the guys who take a lot of hits," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.
Goalie Jimmy Howard will start for the Red Wings. The decision to start Howard over Petr Mrazek, who has allowed two goals to the Capitals in two games this season, was simple. Coach Jeff Blashill said he doesn't put much stock into a player's previous performance against a particular team.
"The biggest thing for us is we feel confident in both guys and both guys give us a great chance to win," Blashill said. "It'll be Jimmy's job to go in tonight and get us a win."
Here are the projected lineups:
Dylan Larkin - Henrik Zetterberg - Justin Abdelkader
Darren Helm - Pavel Datsyuk - Brad Richards
Gustav Nyquist - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Tatar
Joakim Andersson - Luke Glendening - Tomas Jurco
Niklas Kronwall - Mike Green
Danny DeKeyser - Jonathan Ericsson
Brendan Smith - Alexey Marchenko
Injured: Johan Franzen (concussion), Kyle Quincey (ankle), Teemu Pulkkinen (shoulder), Drew Miller (jaw)
Scratched: Jakub Kindl
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson
Brooks Laich - Michael Latta - Andre Burakovsky
Nate Schmidt - John Carlson
Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner
Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney
Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body)
Scratched: Stanislav Galiev, Chris Brown, Aaron Ness
Status update: Orpik did not skate Tuesday; he left practice early Monday and did not return. He has missed 11 games. Trotz said Orpik will be re-evaluated in the next few days.
Who's hot: Backstrom has six points in his past five games … Green has three points in his past three games.