Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 1-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena:
How it happened: An otherwise spectacular night by Caps goaltender Braden Holtby was ruined 4:06 into the third period when rookie forward Andreas Athanasiou beat him with a poor angle shot from the left side of the goal line with a shot that banked off the side of Holtby’s right pad and trickled behind him. The goal was Athanasiou’s first in the NHL and it came in his second NHL game.
What didn’t happen: Despite all of the hype surrounding Alex Ovechkin and his attempt to pass Sergei Fedorov and become the leading Russian-born goal scorer in NHL history, the Great 8 failed to score despite a game-high 15 shots on goal, which matched Ovechkin’s career high. Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek was incredible in recording the shutout, stopping Ovechkin six times on a third-period Capitals power play that looked more like a shooting gallery.
Orpik injured: Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik left the game 1:23 into the second period with a lower body injury and did not return. The club reported that he will be re-evaluated in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Orpik has been nursing “multiple hurts,” according to coach Barry Trotz, and sat out Friday’s practice.
In the absence of Orpik, defenseman Nate Schmidt was moved onto a top unit with John Carlson, with Karl Alzner also seeing time with Carlson.
Meanwhile, center Jay Beagle played in Detroit despite leaving the morning skate early without taking line rushes. Brooks Laich, who sat out practice on Monday for “maintenance.”
Lineup shuffle: As expected, center Chandler Stephenson centered a fourth line with Laich and Tom Wilson.
What’s next: The Caps are expected to practice in Philadelphia on Wednesday, then face the Flyers on Thursday night. The Flyers have lost seven of their lastr eight and are coming off a 4-0 home loss to Colorado.