Instant analysis: Red Wings 4, Capitals 3, SO

Instant analysis: Red Wings 4, Capitals 3, SO
January 31, 2014, 10:45 pm
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(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings Friday night at Joe Louis Arena:

How it happened: Alex Ovechkin sent the game into overtime when he blasted a point shot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard with 7 seconds remaining in regulation for his 39th goal of the season, but Patrick Eaves scored the only goal of a seven-round shootout to give the Red Wings the victory. Michal Neuvirth was outstanding in the loss, stopping 42 of 45 shots through 65 minutes and six of seven shots in the shootout.    

What it means: The Red Wings pulled two points ahead of the Caps in the Eastern Conference standings, while the Caps slipped to seventh in the Metro Division, two points behind third-place Carolina.

Shootout selection: Following the top three selections of Eric Fehr [pad save], Alex Ovechkin [blocker save] and Nicklas Backstrom [arm save], Adam Oates switched things up by going with Casey Wellman, Troy Brouwer, Marty Erat and Jay Beagle, each of whom was stopped by Jimmy Howard.   

Line shuffling: Following Thursday night’s loss in Columbus Oates shook up a few forward lines, moving Jay Beagle onto a second line between Marty Erat and Troy Brouwer and putting Books Laich on a third line with wingers Jason Chimera and Joel Ward. Tom Wilson returned to a fourth line with center Casey Wellman and Eric Fehr.

[RELATED: Ovechkin ties game, 3-3, with seven seconds remaining in regulation]

PP boost: Oates tried using Chimera on the Caps’ struggling power play and the move paid off in the first period when Nicklas Backstrom found Chimera back door for his 11th goal of the season and first on the power play.

Slow start: Thanks to penalties to Nicklas Backstrom, Dmitry Orlov and Karl Alzner, the Caps were outshot 22-5 in the opening period but still came away with a 1-0 lead thanks to Chimera’s power-play goal. The Red Wings pulled ahead with a pair of second-period goals, but Hershey callup Casey Wellman scored his second goal in three games for the Caps to knot the score at 2-2.

No Green: Defenseman Mike Green sat out the game with an upper body injury and was replaced by Tyson Strachan, who was recalled from the Bears earlier on Friday. Strachan logged 14:47 of ice time, but it was John Carlson who had rubber legs at the end of the night. Carlson logged a team-high 31:22 one night after logging a team-high 29:45.

Look ahead: The Caps have an 11 a.m. practice scheduled for Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, but don’t be surprised if that is turned into an optional for the players. They face the Red Wings again at 12:30 on Super Bowl Sunday at Verizon Center.