Capitals beat Red Wings to move into wild card

Capitals Red Wings Hockey
Posted at 12:02 AM, Apr 10, 2024

DETROIT (AP) — Alex Ovechkin and Dylan Strome scored a minute apart late in the second period, Charlie Lindgren finished with 42 saves and the Washington Capitals held on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on Tuesday night in a matchup of teams vying for a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“We all understand the importance of the game and importance of those points,” Ovechkin said. “We fight for playoffs.”

The Capitals moved a point past Detroit for the conference's second wild card and snapped a season-long, six-game losing streak. The Red Wings have lost six of their last eight games, hurting their chances of ending an eight-year playoff drought.

“This one stings, but we still have some games left,” Red Wings coach coach Derek Lalonde said. “If we take care of business, I still think we are in this thing.”

Ovechkin became the first NHL player with at least 30 goals in 18 seasons, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Mike Gartner.

“It’s pretty big," the Russian superstar said. "It’s consistency. Obviously, health. And, my linemates continue to find me out there.”

Patrick Kane scored with 1.1 seconds left and Alex Lyon stopped 21 shots for the Red Wings.

Lyon was pulled during a second power play in the third period to give Detroit a two-man advantage, but it did not score until it was too late.

Washington and Detroit are among several teams with a shot to be a wild card. The Capitals also have an opportunity to secure a spot if they can finish ahead of the New York Islanders for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Washington is aiming to avoid missing consecutive postseasons for the first time since 2006 and 2007, when Ovechkin was in his first two NHL seasons.

“To me, it felt like a do-or-die game,” Lindgren said.

The Red Wings, meanwhile, haven’t been in the playoffs since 2016 back when they played at Joe Louis Arena.

In perhaps the biggest hockey game in Little Caesars Arena, the team’s home since 2017, Detroit started strong by outshooting Washington 17-8.

“We were able to weather the storm there and settle in," Capitals coach Spencer Carbery said. "Chucky made some massive saves.”

The Red Wings kept up the pressure in the second period with a 24-9 edge in shots before the first penalty of the game was called, putting Patrick Kane in the box for hooking.

Washington did not take advantage, getting only one shot on net with the man advantage, but began to take control late in the second period.

Strome scored from the right circle with 2:13 left in the pivotal period after Detroit turned the puck over.

The Red Wings failed to get to get the puck out of their end shortly thereafter and Ovechkin made the most of the opportunity, sending a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that got past Lyon on the short side with 7.2 seconds left in the second to make it 2-0.

"We couldn’t have been any better for the first 35 minutes," Lalonde said.

The Capitals held on for the win after blowing late leads in their previous two games and earned at least a point against Detroit for the 18th time in 21 games.

“Yeah, it’s a big win, but we got to keep going,” Strome said. “It means nothing if we lose the next couple.”


Capitals: At Buffalo on Thursday.

Red Wings: At Pittsburgh on Thursday.