It has been almost eight years since the Washington Capitals last won in Detroit, but the Caps are riding high into Joe Louis Arena with a nine-game winning streak in hand and will look to extend it to 10 against the Red Wings Wednesday.
The last time the Caps won in Detroit was November 24, 2003, in a 4-1 win. Jaromir Jagr and Robert Lang scored for Washington, while Rastislav Stana would become the first Slovakian goaltender to earn a victory in NHL history. It was Stana's only win in a Capitals uniform, but like Stana that night, both Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby have never faced the Red Wings. Neuvirth will get the start Wednesday, his first since March 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In that game, Neuvirth would leave after the first period with an apparent head injury and Holtby has been in net ever since.
The Red Wings and the Caps are two of eight teams in the NHL who have reached the 40-win plateau this season. Yet, Washington might be visiting Joe Louis Arena at the right time; Detroit is 8-10-2 in its last 20 home games. Despite their struggles at home, the Red Wings are in second place in the Western Conference and getting healthier. Brian Rafalski, Chris Osgood and Patrick Eaves are all ready to return after missing time with numerous injuries.
Meanwhile, the Caps are doing their best to do the same. Jason Arnott has been listed as "week-to-week" and is not on the road trip. Nicklas Backstrom has been participating in light practices and is "day-to-day." Head coach Bruce Boudreau expects both players to return soon.