The Washington Capitals (24-12-4) visit the Detroit Red Wings (16-20-7) Sunday for a 5 p.m. puck drop at Little Caesars Arena. This will be the third and final matchup between the teams, the Capitals have won both of the previous meetings. The game will be broadcasted on Fox Sports Detroit and NBC Sports Washington.
Washington is coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday, extending their loss streak to three.
The Red Wings beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Friday.
What to watch for in the Washington Capitals:
The Capitals are currently on a three-game losing streak, the longest losing streak they have accumulated all season. Lots of people are panicking and they have the right to when they look further into how the team has played recently. Over the past eight games the team has had 27 power plays, only one of those power plays has ended in a goal. That means that in those eight games their power play percentage was only 3.7% effective which is very low for a team that is coming off an A+ season. The Capitals have actually some of the best-known players on their top power play unit, such as Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznestov, John Carlson and T.J. Oshie. According to Fox Sports, the Capitals have had 122 powerplays in which 27 of them ended with a goal. Their power play percentage is 22.9% effective in all, ranking them eight in power play effectiveness in the league. We could see Todd Reirden work more with Power Play unit to help them over the slump they are in currently.
The Capitals are in a slump right now and their captain Alex Ovechkin is going to be the one to fix that. He is skipping the All-Star game at the end of January to rest, in his own words Ovechkin said “my body needs rest.” Due to this, we could see him pushing himself more all the way up to All-Star break knowing he is going to be able to get some rest while others participate in this event. He gets a break starting after the teams Jan. 23 matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs up until Feb. 1 when they face the Calgary Flames. Due to him missing the All-Star game, Ovechkin is suspended one game but he gets to choose what game. Ovechkin recently just recorded 30 goals for his 14th straight year. His 30-goal milestone this year makes him the first to reach it this year. Todd Reirden commented on Ovechkin’s feat saying, “He’s just an elite, elite scorer that we’re fortunate to have on our team, and the league is even fortunate to have this type of a player that’s a generational talent.” Ovechkin being the leader he is will help the Capitals players morale after the recent losses and be a big piece to their play in Sunday’s game.
We could see Reirden place Holtby back in net for the game.
What to watch for in the Detroit Red Wings:
Both Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou are on the radar for their recent performances this season. Larkin currently leads the Red Wings in goals and points. Larkin got the game winning goal for the Red Wings in overtime during Friday’s game against Predators. He is also named as one of the leagues fastest players and uses that to his advantage. Larkin scored a goal in the last game against the Capitals. Athanasiou is having his best season yet. He currently sits three goals behind Larkin on the team with 15, close to surpassing his career high. He has scored a goal in three straight games and is looking to extend that streak on Sunday. He also scored a goal in the first matchup between the Capitals and Red Wings in November.
Jimmy Howard should be in net Sunday night following the Friday night win, but Jonathan Bernier could make an appearance if head coach Jeff Blashill wants to give Howard a rest. Howard has played in the past three straight games, gaining a 1-1-1 record during that stretch.
Prediction: Capitals 3- Red Wings 1