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Caps succumb to bye week rust, fall to last-place Red Wings

Caps succumb to bye week rust, fall to last-place Red Wings

Final score: Washington Capitals 2, Detroit Red Wings 3 (shootout)

How it happened: A putrid Detroit power play struck in the first period as Frans Nielsen gave the Red Wings the 1-0 lead. Tomas Tatar extended the lead to two, but Zach Sanford finally got the Caps on the board late in the second. The third period, however, turned into the Petr Mrazek show as the Red Wings netminder stood on his head to protect the narrow lead. It was not enough, however, as Daniel Winnik was able to whack in a T.J. Oshie rebound to tie the game late in the third. This game would ultimately require a shootout where Henrik Zetterberg netted the winner.

What it means: The Caps became the latest victim of the bye week letdown with Saturday’s defeat. Washington is 1-5 on shootouts this season. With the loss, the record for teams in the return from the bye is now 3-9-3. With one point, the Caps now hold a five-point lead in the Metropolitan Division, but the loss snaps a six-game win streak.

Goals

Red Wings goal: Frans Nielsen (power play) from Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall at 8:13 in the first. Zetterberg backhanded a pass from the corner to the front of the net where Nielsen was waiting. His first shot hit off the post, but he was able to bury the rebound. Caps 0, Red Wings 1

Red Wings goal: Tomas Tatar from Henrik Zetterberg and Anthony Mantha at 3:33 in the second. A turnover in the neutral zone by John Carlson led to a rush the other way, with Tatar finishing off a tic-tac-toe play for the goal. Caps 0, Red Wings 2

Capitals goal: Zach Sanford from Lars Eller at 18:36 in the second. Eller generated a turnover in the neutral zone and carried it into the zone where he was able to find Sanford who snapped the shot past Mrazek. Caps 1, Red Wings 2

Capitals goal: Daniel Winnik from T.J. Oshie at 15:12 in the third. Winnik fed T.J. Oshie in the neutral zone and the speedy winger streaked down the right side, firing a shot on Mrazek. The trailing Winnik then whacked the rebound out of midair into the net. Caps 2, Red Wings 2

3 Stars

1. Petr Mrazek: The Caps weren't able to get much sustained pressure on Mrazek, but they did force several key saves from him, especially in the second period when Detroit was still clinging to a 1-0 lead. The save of the game, however, came in the third period as he denied Eller with the toe right on the goal line.

2. Zach Sanford: Sanford had his best game in the NHL, generating multiple opportunities and scoring his second-career NHL goal. He looks like a much more confident player than the one we saw at the start of the season and that's led to a strong performance on Saturday.

3. Henrik Zetterberg: It's rare to see a player make have such a big impact on a game without registering a single shot attempt, but Zetterberg was all over the ice. He registered an assist on each of Detroit's two goals and also scored the game-winning shootout goal.

Look ahead: Washington is back in action on Sunday for another afternoon game in New York against the Rangers. The Caps then wrap up their brief three-game road trip on Wednesday in Philadelphia.

Tell us what you think: The record around the NHL for teams coming out of the bye week is not good. What did you think of the Caps’ effort on Saturday? Did you see any signs of rust?

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