The Capitals conclude a brief two-game homestand Friday afternoon against the Detroit Red Wings at Capital One Arena (4 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie (upper-body injuries) are not expected to play for the fourth game in a row. Washington (11-7-3, 25 points) has won four of its past five games. The Caps did not hold a morning skate on Friday.
Here are four things to watch:
Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom hits almost as many milestones as Alex Ovechkin these days. He recorded his 200th goal last season, his 600th assist and 800th point this season. Now, he is just three points shy of passing Peter Bondra for second place on the franchise point list. Backstrom has 823 points. Bondra finished his Capitals’ career with 825. Backstrom has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games.
Detroit’s record might look mediocre, but considering their brutal start to the year it’s downright respectable. The Red Wings were 1-7-2 on Oct. 27. Since then they are 9-2 and have climbed the standings in the Atlantic Division. Detroit has allowed two goals or fewer in six of its past seven. Goalie Jimmy Howard is 6-1-0 in his past seven starts with a .936 save percentage.
Since his return from a 16-game suspension, Capitals right wing Tom Wilson has two goals and four assists in five games. It is the first time he has posted at least one point in four of five games during the regular season. Wilson has done that once in the playoffs – last year in the first three games of the Pittsburgh second-round series and the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay. (one goal, five assists). That stretch was interrupted, of course, by a three-game suspension during the Pittsburgh series.
Alex Ovechkin needs one power-play goal to pass Mario Lemieux (236) and tie Brendan Shanahan (237) for sixth-place on the all-time NHL list. Ovechkin (622 goals) also needs just three more goals to tie Joe Sakic (625) and Jarome Iginla (625) for 16th all time. Ovechkin has 15 goals this season, which is second in the NHL behind Boston forward David Pastrnak.
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