Athanasiou scores 1st goal, helps Red Wings top Capitals 1-0
DETROIT (AP) On a night Alex Ovechkin had a shot to pass his idol, Sergei Fedorov, with the Hall of Famer in the house, a 21-year-old kid broke a scoreless tie with a remarkable goal.
Andreas Athanasiou scored 4:06 into the third period and Petr Mrazek had 38 saves, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 1-0 win over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.
Athanasiou scored his first career goal in his second NHL game from an improbable angle. He shot from the goal line near the left corner, getting the puck between goaltender Braden Holtby and the left post.
''I threw it on net,'' Athanasiou said. ''And, it was lucky enough to squeak through.''
The Capitals started a power play with 5:08 left in the game, but couldn't take advantage even with some Ovechkin's signature slap shots.
''We had good chances to score,'' Ovechkin said.
The superstar finished with 15 shots, 11 more than anyone else.
''I knew he was going to shoot from everywhere,'' Mrazek said.
Ovechkin was on the ice for almost the entire 2-minute man advantage toward the end of the game. He had plenty of chances to score a milestone goal, but was denied by Mrazek. Ovechkin has 483 career goals, tying him with Fedorov for the most goals in the NHL by a Russian-born player.
''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.''
Fedorov dropped the ceremonial first puck and embraced Red Wings star Henrik Zetterberg and Ovechkin, both of whom are former teammates. He was honored by the Red Wings a day after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and was given a rousing, standing ovation before the game that left him in awe.
''Outstanding,'' Fedorov said after the game. ''Unbelievable. Awesome.''
Fedorov was cheered again in the third period when highlights of his career were shown. He acknowledged the fans by waving from the owner's suite, where he visited with Mike and Marian Ilitch, the two people who could choose to retire his No. 91 jersey and put it in the rafters of Joe Louis Arena or the team's next facility.
''We had a great chat,'' Fedorov said.
Before the game, Fedorov lamented that he didn't stay in Detroit for his entire career. After Detroit drafted him in 1989, helped him defect from Russia and employed him for 13 seasons, he left to sign with Anaheim in 2003 as a free agent and later played for Columbus and Washington.
''I'm going to blame the agents,'' Fedorov said with a grin.
The Capitals pulled Holtby with 1:15 left to add an extra skater and called timeout 12 seconds later, hoping to come up with a plan to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Detroit didn't let Washington get a puck past Mrazek, who had his first shutout of the season and the sixth of his career.
The Red Wings (8-6-1) have won four of their last five games despite scoring two or fewer goals in their last three victories.
Washington (10-4) had won two straight, scoring a total of seven goals in those games, to match the 1991-92 team for the best 13-game start in franchise history.
Holtby had 26 saves for the Capitals and appeared to get away with scooping a puck out of the net with his glove in the first period. The play was reviewed, but the no-goal call on the ice was upheld.
''I think Holts was really strong in the first two periods,'' Washington coach Barry Trotz said. ''Gave us a chance for a point. Unfortunately, a goal that he would probably want back went in. A one-in-a-thousand shot.''
NOTES: Red Wings D Mike Green played against his former team for the first time. The Capitals drafted him in 2004 and he had 113 goals, tying for third among defensemen on the franchise's all-time list with Calle Johansson. ... The Capitals were shut out for the first time in nearly a month.