Capitals-Red Wings Preview
When the Washington Capitals visited the Detroit Red Wings last week, Alex Ovechkin was trying to put a quick end to his pursuit of an NHL mark with the record holder in the building.
Ovechkin is still seeking to become the league's top Russian-born goal scorer and will try again when the Capitals return to Detroit on Wednesday night.
Ovechkin's 483 goals are tied with former teammate Sergei Fedorov, who spent the majority of his career with the Red Wings. A day after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Fedorov dropped the ceremonial puck for the Capitals' visit to Joe Louis Arena last Tuesday, and Ovechkin took a career high-tying 15 shots in a 1-0 loss.
"He was my idol when I was growing up," Ovechkin said. "You have a dream just to meet those kind of guys. To have a chance to play with him on the same line on same team, he was the best teammate I had and the best player I played with."
Ovechkin also has failed to record a point in two games since that one. Washington (11-4-1) won 5-2 in Philadelphia on Thursday but lost at home the following night, 3-2 in overtime to Calgary, before getting four days off.
The three-time Hart Trophy winner recorded a point in 11 of his first 12 games but now looks to avoid going four straight without one for the first time since Nov. 29-Dec. 6 of last year. Coach Barry Trotz said he felt Ovechkin is pressing to get the record.
"I think he wants to get it. There's no question," he said. "He's scored a gazillion goals in the league, and to our team, (I tell them) don't look for Ovi to score that goal. Don't overpass. He's scored a lot of goals. Play the way we play, and I guarantee you, he will score that goal, and he'll score many after that."
Ovechkin has no goals and one assist as Washington has split its last four games against Detroit (9-8-1).
The Red Wings lost their two subsequent games after beating the Capitals before defeating Ottawa 4-3 in overtime on Monday. They blew a two-goal lead in the third period, giving up the equalizer with 2:48 remaining, but Tomas Tatar scored the winner.
"We were looking pretty good in the first and second periods, and it should be easier than this," Tatar said. "We can't let that happen, letting teams come back and almost losing the two points."
The Red Wings hope it was a breakout performance offensively after having scored two goals or fewer in six consecutive games and 11 of 13.
Henrik Zetterberg, though, enters Wednesday trying to avoid going six straight games without a point for the first time since March 2-12, 2011. Pavel Datsyuk doesn't have a point in three games since returning from ankle surgery.
Detroit has scored one goal in three consecutive games against Washington. Braden Holtby was in net for the Capitals in all of those matchups.
Holtby's lone loss in his past four starts came in Detroit as he's posted a 1.49 goals-against average.
Petr Mrazek recorded his only shutout of the season that day with 38 saves and has a 1.38 GAA in three career appearances against the Capitals. Mrazek is among the league leaders with a .935 save percentage.