Red Wings brace for dynamic Capitals
Detroit —A day off may have given the Red Wings a new perspective on porous defense.
After the morning skate Friday they were talking about a better effort against the offensively charged Capitals and Alex Ovechkin Friday.
They managed so poorly, especially in the early going against the high-flying Maple Leafs Wednesday in Toronto, the Wings were down 4-1 at 16:26 of the first.
Two days after the onslaught, the Leafs vaulted to the top as a favorite to win the Stanley Cup, according to Bovada, the online bookmaker.
“I didn’t play a great game,” said Anthony Mantha, who is counted on to improve defensively in his second full season, even as he is increasingly relied on for scoring in the Red Wings lineup.
“I know it. I mean every player knows when they play a good one. Every player knows when they play a bad one.
“For me, it’s just to step back up today and have the best performance.”
Mantha is to play in his 78th NHL game and has seven points (three goals and four assists) through seven games this season. He is a zero plus-minus overall, but finished minus-3 against the Maple Leafs with no points and just one shot on net.
“Toronto was sort of as step-back game,” said Nick Jensen, who is expected to appear in his 57th NHL game Friday. “I talked with some coaches, and I know there is some things I have to work on.”
On the ice for two Leafs’ goals, Jensen also assisted on all three Red Wings tallies, for a plus-1 on the evening. Petr Mrazek is expected to start in goal for the Red Wings.
Howard’s rough outing against the Maple Leafs, when he allowed three goals on four shots, led to him watching the last 44:14 from the bench.
Mrazek game up a goal on the first shot he faces, but then stopped 19 of the last 20.
The Capitals are 12-4-3 against the Red Wings since the Wings last Stanley Cup in 2008.
They were 2-0-1 last season.
So far this season, goalie Braden Holtby is 3-2-0 with a .931 save percentage.
In his career against the Red Wings, Holtby is 8-2-1 with a 1.87 goals against average and .929 save percentage.
Barry Trotz, whom the Wings played frequently as the longtime and first coach of the Predators, will coach his 1,450th NHL game, passing Dick Irvin, the former Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Blackhawks coach and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, for sixth, all-time.