The Detroit Red Wings’ penalty killers kept the game close; the power play units did not make it close enough.
The Wings’ three-game winning streak ended Thursday at Little Caesars Arena when the Washington Capitals used two quick goals to claim a 2-0 victory.
Zach Fucale made 21 saves to earn the distinction of being the first goaltender in NHL history to shut out Detroit in his first NHL game. He did a good job — but the Wings didn’t generate the same buzz from two nights earlier against the Oilers and went 0-for-4 on power plays.
They did succeed in holding Alex Ovechkin without a shot on net for the first time since March 2020.
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The Caps scored 10 seconds apart on Thomas Greiss in the first 13 minutes. Connor McMichael almost made it 3-0 in the second period when he threw a backhand on net while Greiss was down, but the puck rolled along the goal line and disappeared under Greiss’ right leg. The Wings pulled Greiss with 2:20 to go, but having an extra attacker was futile.
Special teams disparity
The Wings did a masterful job when down two skaters for 1:49 midway through the second period. Michael Rasmussen blocked Ovechkin’s shot, helping limit Greiss’ workload to three saves. During the Wings’ third penalty kill, it was Filip Hronek who dove across the crease and extended his stick to help keep the puck out of the net. As good as the penalty killers were, the power play units squandered chances to dent the score. The first man advantage, which bridged the first and second periods, was little more than an exercise in chasing the puck. The Wings got their own two-man advantage late in the second period but hesitated to shoot the puck, instead making pass after pass.
10 seconds of pain
Dmitry Orlov scored at 12:43 of the first period. Evgeny Kuznetsov got the puck to Orlov at the top of the left circle, and Orlov fired a shot through traffic. The next-shift mentality the Wings have talked about having when they get scored on only led to further damage. Ex-Wings defenseman Nick Jensen — traded at the 2019 deadline — got the puck to Lars Eller in Detroit’s zone. Eller drove to the net undefended, and scored his first goal of the season, at 12:53.
A Hull of a scorer
Ovechkin came into the game with 741 goals, tied with Brett Hull for fourth all-time in NHL history. Hull played for the Wings from 2001-2004 as part of the influx of superstars during the 2001 offseason, along with Luc Robitaille and Dominik Hasek. Hull found success playing next to rookie Pavel Datsyuk and Boyd Devereaux, famously dubbing the trio, “Two Kids and a Goat.” Hull did what he was signed to do, scoring 30, 37 and 25 goals a season, and helping the Wings win the Stanley Cup in 2002.
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.