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Preview: Caps visit Hockeytown

Monday, 12.17.2007 / 9:10 AM ET / Preview
Associated Press
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Preview: Caps visit Hockeytown

DETROIT -- It's been a long time since the Red Wings lost a home game to an Eastern Conference opponent. Then again, they don't lose too often to anyone these days.

Detroit will look to improve upon its NHL-best 14-2-1 mark at home Monday when it faces off against the Washington Capitals.

The Red Wings (23-6-3) have not lost at Joe Louis Arena to a team from the Eastern Conference since March 11, when they fell 6-3 to Boston.

This season, they have made most everything look easy. Detroit already has two winning streaks of at least seven games, and aside from a two-week stretch in mid-November when they went 2-4-1, the Red Wings are 21-2-2, including their current 8-0-2 stretch.

Their six-game home winning streak was snapped on Thursday with a 4-3 shootout loss to Edmonton, but Detroit rebounded nicely on Saturday, scoring three power-play goals on its way to a 5-2 win over Florida.

"I think when the other team gets off the flight, they've got to know that there's no chance for points," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told the team's official Web site. "That's how we want to be at home. We want to be dominant."

The Red Wings' dominance has been due primarily to the offensive prowess of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Zetterberg's 45 points rank third in the NHL, and Datsyuk - who has at least one point in 10 of his last 11 games - isn't far behind with 13 goals and 25 assists.

While Detroit's 109 goals scored lead the NHL, they've also given up a league-low 70. Goaltender Chris Osgood has compiled a 15-1-1 record in 17 starts - his 1.76 goals-against average is by far the best in the league and his .929 save percentage ranks second behind Boston's Tim Thomas.

Washington (13-18-2) owns the fewest points in the Eastern Conference but has played better of late, winning four of its last five and going 7-4-1 in its last 12 games.

The Caps have also proven capable of beating top competition in any given night. They stopped East-leading Ottawa's eight-game winning streak on Nov. 8, then ended New Jersey's 10-game stretch without a regulation loss on Dec. 10.

The Capitals' 5-3 loss to Buffalo on Friday ended their three-game winning streak, but they won 3-2 at Tampa Bay the following night.

Defenseman Brian Pothier scored the game-winner early in the third period against the Lightning after having been a healthy scratch for Washington's two previous games.

"It was enormous," Pothier told the Capitals' official Web site. "We know good teams don't lose two in a row. We're playing a great team on Monday and we wanted to set the tone for that game and carry it into (Detroit)."

Washington's scoring attack is paced by forward Alex Ovechkin, who leads the team with 23 goals and 38 points. Ovechkin had 46 goals and 92 points last season, but had additional help from a 30-goal scorers Alexander Semin and Chris Clark. Both Semin and Clark have been bothered by injuries this season, and they have just seven goals in 33 combined games.

No Capitals player other than Ovechkin has more than eight goals, and Saturday's victory was the first for Washington this season when Ovechkin failed to record a point.

The Capitals haven't played in Detroit since they won 4-1 on Nov. 24, 2003.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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