3 Takeaways From Red Wings’ Loss to Capitals

The Hockey Writers

On Thursday (Sept. 28) the Detroit Red Wings took on the Washington Capitals in the second game of the preseason and ended up falling short, losing 4-3 to the Capitals. In the Red Wings’ first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, they faced a lot of American Hockey League players, but against the Capitals they faced more NHL lineup players including Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson.

Top Line Stands Out for Red Wings

The top line for the Red Wings against the Capitals consisted of two newly-acquired players in J.T. Compher and Daniel Sprong, and Robby Fabbri. This trio was able to produce all three of the Red Wings’ goals and stood out as their best line. Between the three players, they combined for 13 of the 30 total shots the team had on Capitals goaltender Charlie Lindgren and also produced all three Red Wings goals on the night.

The former Capital, Sprong stood out as probably the team’s best player on the offensive side, being able to control the offensive zone with and without the puck, and set up both of Fabbri’s third-period goals to close the Capitals’ lead to one. He also opened the scoring for the Red Wings in the first period off an assist from Simon Edvinsson.

Robby Fabbri Detroit Red Wings
Robby Fabbri, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Fabbri was quiet throughout the first two periods of the game but was able to find a spark in the last five minutes of the third period and score twice in just under two minutes, and had a chance to tie the game at four but fell short of doing so. If Fabbri is able to stay healthy this season and produce like he is capable of doing so, he will be a valuable asset to the Red Wings yet again.

Mixed in with Sprong and Fabbri was Compher, who did not factor in on the scoresheet but was also able to play a solid all-around game.

Cossa & Lyon Look Solid

Even with giving up four goals between the two of them, Sebastian Cossa and Alex Lyon both had solid games between the pipes for the Red Wings.


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Lyon was in net for the Red Wings for the first two periods of the game, stopping 14 of 16 shots that he faced. He gave up a goal to Backstrom on a defensive lapse in front of the net when Edvinsson was unable to stay on Backstrom, allowing him to tip a pass from Ovechkin into the back of the net. The other goal that was given up by Lyon came off a faceoff loss and a quick one-time shot by Tom Wilson that Lyon did not have much of a chance on.

Outside of these two goals, he looked solid in net for the Red Wings and could be pushing fellow free agent signee James Reimer possibly for the backup spot behind Ville Husso going into the regular season.

Related: Evaluating the State of the Red Wings’ Goaltending Situation

Cossa was coming off a less-than-stellar performance in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament but was able to shake that off and also play a solid third period. Even though he gave up two goals to the Capitals on 14 shots, he looked more like the goalie that Detroit drafted in the first round in 2021. This included a nice pad save on Nick Dowd in the third period. The two goals that he did give up were the result of a shot from the point where he was screened and then a scrum in front of the net that led to the Red Wings being out of position for an easy goal for the Capitals.

Sebastian Cossa Detroit Red Wings
Sebastian Cossa, Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Overall, both netminders had solid nights in net for the Red Wings and Cossa’s performance should be a confidence booster for him.

Edvinsson & Veleno Given Crunch Time Opportunity

Forward Joe Veleno is entering a year that could make or break his future as a Red Wing and there are hopes within the organization that he can take the jump to become the player he is capable of being. In his first action of the 2023 preseason, Veleno was given the opportunity to play in the crunch time minutes of the game, playing most of the last few minutes when the Red Wings were attempting to tie the game.

While he was unable to factor into the scoresheet, Veleno played a solid game and was able to finish with a plus/minus of plus-2 on the night.

Young defenseman Simon Edvinsson was another player that was given the opportunity to play in the closing minutes and played another solid game against the Capitals. He showed his offensive mindset, jumping into the rush a few times and getting involved numerous times in the offensive zone as well. He was also able to factor into the scoring in the loss, with his assist on Sprong’s goal off a nice pass from the point. Edvinsson led all Red Wings players in ice time, playing just under 24 minutes in the game.

On to the Next One

Even with the loss, there were many bright spots for the Red Wings in the game. They will have a chance to avenge the close loss on Saturday (Sept. 30) when they play the Capitals again, this time in front of their home crowd at Little Caesars Arena.

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