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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, January 31st (All times Eastern)

Washington Capitals (24-22-8) at Detroit Red Wings (23-19-11), 7:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The struggling Detroit Red Wings will try to shake off a recent blowout loss when they host the Washington Capitals in Friday's clash at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings were handed a 5-0 loss Tuesday in Philadelphia. It was the second straight setback for Detroit, which fell to 3-4-1 over its last eight trips to the ice.

Detroit's recent inconsistent play has more than a little to do with the club's injury problems. The club has played the last 11 games without star forward Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) and Henrik Zetterberg also missed Tuesday's game in Philly due to a back issue.

The good news is that Zetterberg, who leads Detroit with 16 goals and 44 points, skated on Wednesday and Thursday and is hopeful he can return to the lineup tonight.

Datsyuk, however, will miss a 12th straight game for the Red Wings. Detroit also will be without winger Johan Franzen (concussion) on Friday, as well as fellow forwards Cory Emmerton (finger) and Stephen Weiss (sports hernia).

Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard had missed the last four games due to a knee injury, but he expects to be in goal tonight against the Capitals. He is 1-1-1 with a 2.93 goals against average in three career tests against Washington.

With Howard injured, Jonas Gustavsson made his fourth straight start in Tuesday's game and he allowed all five Philadelphia goals on 28 shots. The Flyers continued their home mastery of Detroit, winning their eighth straight against the Red Wings in front of the home crowd, having last lost on Jan. 25, 1997.

"Well, I thought we did a lot of good things early," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. "I thought we were in it, then too many self-inflicted wounds. We've got to be ultra-hardworking. We didn't have enough details tonight with or without the puck."

Detroit has made 22 consecutive playoff appearances, but enters Friday one point out of the last postseason berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Red Wings have not fared well on home ice this season, going 9-11-8 in the Motor City. Detroit also has lost two straight against the Capitals at Joe Louis Arena and Washington has won three in a row and four of five in the series overall.

Washington will try to get back on the right track this evening after having a two-game winning streak snapped in Thursday's 5-2 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Capitals trailed 4-0 at one point during the second period en route to the lopsided road loss.

Joel Ward and Eric Fehr supplied the goals for Washington, which lost for the eighth time in the past 10 games. Braden Holtby stopped 24-of-29 Columbus shots, while Washington captain Alex Ovechkin was a minus-5 and registered only two shots on net.

Holtby didn't have a banner evening either. The Blue Jackets mustered only five first-period shots, but two wound up behind the Washington goaltender.

"We were terrible. It was probably the worst period that I've seen the boys play in over a year," Washington head coach Adam Oates said about his team's start.

In addition to losing on Thursday the Capitals also saw Mike Green leave the game due to an upper-body injury. The defenseman was hurt after getting slammed into the boards by Columbus forward Boone Jenner and did not return to the game. Green is questionable for tonight's contest, as is forward Mikhail Grabovski, who has sat out the last three games.

Despite a rough January that has seen the club post a 4-7-3 record, the Capitals are still only two points out of playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Washington is 2-2-0 on a five-game road trip that ends tonight. The Caps are 10-13-4 as the visiting team this season.

01/31 10:49:51 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 102
DET 78
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
 
Final
PHI 9
ATL 2
Final
MIN 4
BOS 4
Final
HOU 3
DET 2
Final
NYY 0
TAM 3
Final
BOS 7
TOR 9
Final
MIA 8
WAS 0
Final
NYM 4
STL 5
Final
OAK 4
ANA 1
Final
KAN 4
LOS 4
Final
CIN 0
ARI 3
Final
SEA 4
CWS 12
Final
SFG 5
CLE 2
Final
CHC 11
MIL 7
Final
CWS 2
SDP 8
Final
COL 10
TEX 4
Final
BAL 3
PIT 3
12:05pm Today
STL
NYM
 
1:05pm Today
DET
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
NYY
PIT
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
TAM
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
SDP
MIL
 
3:10pm Today
ARI
CWS
 
6:05pm Tonight
ATL
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIN
BOS
 
7:05pm Tonight
CCH
HOU
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
LOS
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
OAK
 
Final
CHA 102
DET 78
Final
WAS 106
PHI 93
Final
ORL 91
SAN 103
Final
NYK 98
BRK 100
Final
BOS 100
IND 87
Final
MIL 95
CHI 91
Final
OKC 131
DAL 135
Final
HOU 115
SAC 111
Final
MIN 99
TOR 113
Final
UTA 98
DEN 84
Final
POR 122
LAC 126
 
4th
LAL 88
NOP 108
 
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
MIA
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
HOU
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
PHO
 
Final
LAMON 62
LOYC 63
7:00pm Tonight
EVAN
NARZ
 
9:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
STAN
 
Final
BUF 4
TOR 3
Final
PIT 1
PHI 4
Final
ANA 5
EDM 1
3rd
SJS 2
COL 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
NYI
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
BOS
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
 
7:30pm Tonight
OTT
TAM
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NYR
 
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
VAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
EDM