|Will Michal Neuvirth get the call tonight? He should.|
The Washington Capitals are in Detroit tonight to take on the Red Wings as they look to extend their three-week run of excellent play. Coming into tonight's action, the Capitals stand first in the Southeast Division and second in the Eastern Conference with 92 points in 72 games, coming off their 4-2 win in Montreal last night. The Red Wings, on the other hand, are first in the Central Division and second in the Western Conference with 90 points in 69 games. The Red Wings, who have been off since Saturday, defeated the Blues in their last game 5-3. This is the one and only regular season meeting between these two teams this season; the Capitals have not won inside Joe Louis Arena since 2003.
Red Wings head coach is expected to give the reins for tonight's game to Jimmy Howard, his number one goalie. Howard is having a solid season this year with a 2.77 GAA, .908 Save%, and 33 wins in 53 games. He made 26 stops on 29 shots his last time out against St. Louis, and will be a tough task for these Capitals, who will be playing their second game in less than 24 hours. On the injury front, the Red Wings are likely to welcome defenseman Brian Rafalski and his 37 points back into the lineup after an eight game absence. His return will shore up an already strong Detroit defense and facilitate their dangerous power play.
For Washington, Michal Neuvirth is expected to receive his first start in nine days from Bruce Boudreau. Neuvirth, who was injured in a freak accident when a piece of metal from his mask got stuck in his eye last Monday, has been ready to go for about the last five days, but has given way to Braden Holtby thanks to the newcomer's incredible hot streak. For the season, the Czech has 22 wins, a 2.47 GAA, and a .914 Save% in 41 games. Outside of the crease, Nicklas Backstrom is considered questionable for this game; he has missed the Capitals' last four with a broken thumb. Eric Fehr is also questionable after suffering an undisclosed upper body injury last night. John Erskine is not likely to play because of a bout with the flu.
Puck drops for this one 7:38-ish. Check back later for updates from the morning skate.