Alex Ovechkin chasing history as Capitals face Red Wings

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Alex Ovechkin will look to climb another notch on the NHL’s all-time scoring list when the Washington Capitals visit the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.

The 36-year-old forward will surpass Brett Hull for fourth on the all-time goals list the next time he scores. Ovechkin tied Hull with his 741st career goal on Monday when the Capitals skated to a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

“It’s nice to be in that company and it’s a pretty big number,” he said. “I just move on. Obviously it’s nice to be tied, but I still have a couple of games left.”

Ovechkin certainly shows no signs of slowing down. He’s already piled up a league-high 11 goals this season entering play on Wednesday.

“Alex, another strong game from him (Monday),” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “He just had a lot going on. He had a lot of pucks around his stick and at the net. He could have gotten another one or two (Monday) for sure. … He got one to go, he made some nice plays, too, moving pucks to other people for opportunities to score as well.”

Washington snapped a three-game losing streak with its victory over the Sabres.

“The most important thing right now is team wins,” forward Tom Wilson said. “We’ve got some adversity going and we’re rallying together and trying to collect the wins.”

The Red Wings have been doing that lately, as they carry a three-game winning streak into the contest. They started the streak with an overtime triumph in Buffalo, then collected victories in the first two contests of their current four-game homestand. They defeated Vegas on Sunday and Edmonton on Tuesday.

Detroit handed the Oilers just their second loss of the season. Vladislav Namestnikov scored two goals and Dylan Larkin had an unassisted tally in the 4-2 win. Moritz Seider scored his second career goal with an empty-netter.

Namestnikov, who skates on the team’s third line, has seven goals this season.

“I thought he played really well,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “The goals are part of it, but I thought his whole game was really good. We need production throughout the lineup. It’s critically important.”

Namestnikov was impressed with the team’s defensive focus against the high-scoring Oilers.

“The first two periods, we didn’t give them much at all,” he said. “I think in the second period, their first shot was at the 11-minute mark. We limited their chances, and if we play every game like that, it’s going to be a good season.”

The game on Thursday begins a stretch for the Capitals in which they play six of seven on the road. In their last two road games, Washington dropped one-goal decisions to Tampa Bay and Florida.

Detroit recorded a 3-2 road victory at Washington on Oct. 27 as Larkin scored in overtime. The Wings have seven victories in 14 outings, a vast improvement over recent seasons. They didn’t collect their seventh win until their 23rd game last season and their 20th game during the 2019-20 season.

Blashill sees a team with growing confidence and determination.

“I thought our battle level was extremely high throughout,” he said. “We weren’t perfect defensively, but I think we’re learning, and I think there were areas where we took a step (Tuesday).”

–Field Level Media

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