Second Thoughts: Ovechkin, top line lead comeback win in Detroit

Second Thoughts: Ovechkin, top line lead comeback win in Detroit
November 16, 2013, 9:00 am
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Highlights from Caps comeback win in Detroit

Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Capitals savor Friday night’s come-from-behind 4-3 shootout win in Detroit over the Red Wings:

How it happened: Trailing 3-1 entering the third period, Capitals coach Adam Oates switched up his top two lines, moving Marcus Johansson onto the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, and sliding Marty Erat from top-line left wing to second-line center. The move paid off when Johansson fed Ovechkin to make it 3-2. Another quick switch – bumping rookie center Michael Latta up to the third line with Jason Chimera and Joel Ward also paid off when Latta drove the net and scored his first NHL goal on a John Carlson rebound.

What it means: Because of the Penguins’ 4-1 win over Nashville, the Caps [11-8-1] remained one point behind Pittsburgh [12-7-0] in the Metro Division standings, three points ahead of third-place Carolina [8-7-4].

Shootout sniper: After both teams failed to score on overtime power plays, Backstrom netted the only goal of the shootout, slipping a shot between the pads of Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard. Backstrom, the third man up in the rotation after Mikhail Grabovski [2 for 6] and Ovechkin [1 for 5], is now a perfect 4-for-4 on shootout attempts this season. Backstrom also led the Caps with six shots and won 14 of 22 faceoffs.

[RELATED: Oleksy, Brouwer, Ovi lead comeback win]

Shootout stopper: Caps goalie Braden Holtby stopped three of the NHL’s most dangerous shooters – Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi – to improve to 3-0 in shootouts this season. He’s stopped 9 of 12 shootout attempts this season.

Ovi’s take: “It's a huge win," Ovechkin said. "Everybody knows what they have over there, how good they are. When they get a 3-1 lead, it just makes us [work] harder. It's a good sign for us. We [played] against a pretty good team, huge-skill team, and it's a pretty good test for us. We set the tone right away in the third with a couple of good chances and we just kept going."

What Adam Oates said: “A lot of good things had to happen, but from the start of the game I thought the guys were really engaged in the game. They got [two goals] late in the first, but we had a good period. The second half of the game we only gave up one chance [against us] 5-on-5, so we did a lot of good things in the game."

Laich-ing it: Brooks Laich snapped a 12-game goal-less streak, netting his first goal since Oct. 19 just 5:50 into the game. It was Laich’s third goal of the season.

[RELATED: Video highlights of Washington's win over Detroit]

Tyson’s corner: With Mike Green sidelined by a lower body bruise, defenseman Tyson Strachan, 29, played well in his first game with the Capitals, logging 21:43 in ice time alongside 22-year-old rookie Nate Schmidt. Strachan recorded a team-high five hits, blocked one shot and logged 1:56 on the penalty kill and 31 seconds on the power play.

What’s next: The Caps play a rare 6 p.m. game against Jaroslav Halak and the St. Louis Blues Sunday night at Verizon  Center. They have not faced Halak in Washington since the 20101 playoffs when he was with the Canadiens.

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