Matchup: Detroit Red Wings vs. Washington Capitals
Venue: Verizon Center; Washington D.C.
Time: 12:30 PM EST
Television: National- NBC
The Detroit Red Wings (24-19-11, 59 points, 5th place Atlantic Division) are still on the road to getting healthy and are leaning on a lot of their young players to keep them in playoff contention. The Red Wings got a little bit healthier last game when they welcomed their captain back and their starting goaltender. Jimmy Howard came up big in the shootout on Friday night against the Capitals by not allowing any goals after allowing the Capitals to score the tying goal with seven seconds remaining in the game. The shootout victory gave the Red Wings their fourth win in seven games and helped them keep pace for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They will need another big performance from their goaltender as they try to win the second of back to back games this afternoon against the Capitals.
The Washington Capitals (24-22-9, 57 points, 7th place Metropolitan Division) may currently sit towards the bottom of their division, but they are also currently only three points out of the third place spot which would guarantee a playoff spot. The Capitals have struggled a bit lately, winning only two of their past five games. Today’s game opens up a four game home stand for the Capitals who will try to use that as an opportunity to get back into playoff position. At home this season, the Capitals are 14-9-4 as opposed to 10-13-5 on the road. This matchup today against the Red Wings is big for both teams as they are currently both fighting for the 8th and final playoff spot.
The Red Wings will start Olympic goaltender Jimmy Howard in net today for the second consecutive game. Since Howard came back from his first knee injury, he has played nearly to the level of last season where he willed the Red Wings into the playoffs.
The Capitals will counter with Michal Neuvirth against the Red Wings again after his big performance on Friday. Despite taking the loss, Neuvirth stopped a career high 42 of 45 shots and gave the Capitals the opportunity to win the game. He will need to come up big again for the Capitals to allow the team to get the victory.