NHL on NBCSN: Hot Wings look to extend winning streak to season-high four games vs. Capitals

Associated Press
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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Washington Capitals host the Detroit Red Wings at 7:30 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

If the first two meetings between these two teams were any indication, we should be treated to a tight, exciting and low scoring game between the Wings and Capitals.

Detroit defeated Washington 1-0 on Nov. 10 with Andreas Athanasiou scoring the game’s only goal.

Eight days later, it was the Capitals’ turn to return the favor, as they got an overtime goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov to beat Detroit 2-1.

The Wings have taken off since these two teams last faced each other.

Detroit managed to hold on without Pavel Datsyuk for the first 15 games of the season, and even though he isn’t producing much offensively, he seems to have given them the spark they needed.

The Red Wings lost their first two games with Datsyuk back in the lineup, but they’re 7-0-3 since then.

The 37-year-old has two goals and six points while averaging 19:52 of ice time per game.

Detroit is currently on their third three-game winning streak of the season. They’ve failed to win that fourth game both times.

Washington is coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon. It’s just a small bump in the road for a team that’s now 6-0-1 in their last seven games.

When people think of the Capitals, Alex Ovechkin is usually the first player that comes to mind, but so far this season, he’s not the one who leads the team in scoring. That honor belongs to Evgeny Kuznetsov.

After scoring 37 points in 82 games last year, the 23-year-old has already scored 26 points in 25 games in ’15-16.

Last week, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz admitted that he did speak to Datsyuk about Kuznetsov’s need to improve his two-way game before their first meeting of the season.

“I’ve had the opportunity to sort of know Pavel a little bit from all our dealings with him when I was in Nashville,” Trotz told members of the media before last Thursday’s game in Montreal. “I have a lot of respect for Pavel and he was asking me about Kuzi and I was saying ‘if (Kuznetsov) ever gets this area of his game going, I think he can be a real good player.’ And he said ‘I’ll talk to him.’ I know they have a little bit of a friendship, so I’m gonna put a little bit on Pav too.”

The Capitals could be missing two key defensemen in this game. Karl Alzner is expected to be out (upper body) and so is Brooks Orpik (lower body).

Nate Schdmit, who’s played well in Orpik’s absence, and Aaron Ness should play a more significant role until one or both veterans return.

This will be the third and final meeting between these two clubs this season.