The Capitals snapped their three-game point streak with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
Playing in their fifth game in eight days, the injury-depleted Capitals generated chances but couldn’t finish plays as Red Wings goaltender Ville Husso put up the brick wall.
Alex Ovechkin scored the lone goal for Washington, a tally that put him alongside Detroit legend Gordie Howe in the record books.
Here are three takeaways from the Capitals’ loss to the Red Wings.
Husso wins battle of goaltending
Both Darcy Kuemper and Husso were at the top of their games Thursday night, but it was Husso who emerged victorious by stopping 33 of 34 shots.
Husso, 27, has staked an early claim for the Red Wings’ starting job between the pipes after being acquired from the St. Louis Blues in an offseason trade. His case only improved with his performance against the Capitals, keeping Detroit in the game despite facing 11 high-danger chances on the night.
Kuemper was strong in net as well with 23 saves, allowing both of his goals on high-danger chances before an empty netter sealed it. With the loss, he moved to 4-4-1 with a .922 save percentage and 2.36 goals against average on the year.
For all the injuries the Capitals have suffered early on this season, Kuemper and backup goaltender Charlie Lindgren (3.03 GAA, .919 save %) have kept the team afloat. It just wasn’t enough to get the win against the Red Wings.
Ovechkin makes history
Every goal Ovechkin scores seems to count on some kind of historic ledger, but his second-period goal Thursday was a big one.
Ovechkin kicked the puck to himself and fired a wrister past Husso for the 786th goal of his career, tying Detroit’s own Gordie Howe for the most goals scored for one NHL franchise. Howe’s mark of 786 has stood as the record for 51 years.
“It’s a pretty special moment,” Ovechkin told NBC Sports Washington’s Al Koken during his intermission interview. “Kind of happy and we still have 20 minutes so yeah, after the game.”
Was he thinking about it before the game?
“I thought about it. It would be nice to tie him, but it would be much cooler to pass him here.”
Though he didn’t score another goal to pass Howe for sole possession of the record, the tally was also Ovechkin’s 400th career goal on the road. He joined Wayne Gretzky (402) as the only players with that many scores away from home.
Red Wings do their damage from close range
Kuemper entered play Thursday with an average goals against distance of 15.8 feet, second shortest of netminders with at least 200 minutes of ice time this season.
That trend continued into Thursday as the Red Wings scored both of their goals against him just a few feet from the crease. Winger Lucas Raymond received a pass unguarded right in front of the net and got two shots off to help Detroit tie the game at 1-1 in the second.
The game-winner was fired by center Andrew Copp from the slot following a pass from behind the net.
With the loss, the Capitals fell to 5-5-2 on the season. Their next game is scheduled for Friday at home against the Arizona Coyotes.