The Detroit Red Wings jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period, but, led by Tom Wilson, the Caps would responded with three unanswered goals for the 3-1 win on Friday. Washington has now won four straight, their longest win streak of the season.
Here are four reasons why the Caps won.
A lot has been written on just how good Wilson has looked since his return from suspension and on Friday, he had another big night. Wilson had an impact in just about every aspect of the game. He pressured the defense constantly on the forecheck, he won puck battles with both his speed and physical play, he was a force on the penalty kill, he helped maintain possession on the power play and he drew a hooking penalty on Nick Jensen.
As if that wasn’t enough, Wilson also recorded an assist and scored the game-tying goal in the second period as he beat goalie Jonathan Bernier to the top corner. He now has three goals and seven points in six games. His goal was the turning point of the game as Washington would go on to score three unanswered in the win.
The Caps raised more than a few eyebrows when they signed Wilson to a six-year, $31 million contract in the offseason. Since his return to the lineup, however, Wilson has shown he is well worth the money.
Detroit had a number of high-danger opportunities and a lot of odd-man breaks on the Caps, but Holtby made up for any defensive breakdowns with his play in net.
Holtby made 31 saves including breakaway saves on Gustav Nyquist and Andreas Athanasiou.
Holtby looked like he was returning to form before he suffered an upper-body injury. It does not appear the injury set him back at all as he has been brilliant since his return.
A nasty screen
With the scored tied 1-1 in the third, Devante Smith-Pelly planted himself right in front of Bernier and would not move. Michal Kempny took a pass near the blue line and fired a slap shot into the net to give Washington the lead. Bernier was in the butterfly and did flinch as the puck went by him.
The assists for the goal went to Andre Burakovsky and Travis Boyd, but Smith-Pelly was the one who set it up. Bernier didn’t have a clue the shot was coming thanks to the screen.
A timely knockout punch
The Caps took their first lead of the game at 6:38 into the third period. Just under two minutes later, Alex Ovechkin extended that lead to two with his 16th goal of the season.
Before the Red Wings could even catch their breath, suddenly they were down two and a game they had largely controlled felt like it was slipping away. They never really recovered.
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