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Detroit Red Wings

Capitals Move Ahead of Red Wings For Playoff Spot



Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

The Detroit Red Wings are again on the outside looking in for an Eastern Conference wild card position.

Thanks to a pair of goals by Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals downed the Calgary Flames 5-3 to move one point ahead of Detroit for the final spot. The Caps have 75 points and Detroit has 74. Washington also has one game in hand.

The Red Wings can move back into a playoff spot by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Little Caesars Arena.

Ovechkin’s goals were his 19th and 20th of the season to make him the sixth player to net 20 or more in a season 19 times.The others include two former Red Wings. The list: Red Wings great Gordie Howe (22), Ron Francis (20), former Detroit player Brendan Shanahan (19), Dave Andreychuk (19) and Jaromir Jagr (19). Ovechkin also became the third to do so in 19 consecutive seasons, along with Howe (22) and Shanahan (19).

At 38, Ovechkin is enduring his worst NHL season (20 goals, 52 points, minus-21). But he has picked up his pace in the stretch
drive, putting up 10 points in the past 10 games.

The Capitals playoff push is fascinating because they were sellers at the deadline, trading away former Detroit player Anthony Mantha, plus Joel Edmundson and Evgeny Kuznetsov. They put Kuznetsov on waivers before dealing him to Carolina (for third round pick, with Caps retaining 50% salary) where he shows two goals and four points in six games.

Washington plays host to the Red Wings a week from tonight. While the Red Wings have lost eight of their last nine, the Washington Capitals have gone 5-2 in their last seven.

The Buffalo Sabres also downed the Seattle Kraken 6-2 to move within three points of Detroit.