WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Detroit Red Wings have collected points in four of their last five games (3-1-1), while the Washington Capitals are venturing in the other direction after dropping nine of 11 (2-6-3) to plummet into seventh place in the congested Metropolitan Division. The Red Wings look to complete a home-and-home sweep when they visit the Capitals on Sunday afternoon. Patrick Eaves scored in the seventh round of the shootout and Jimmy Howard denied all seven attempts by Washington as Detroit skated to a 4-3 victory on Friday.
The road hasn't been kind to the Red Wings, who have been shut out in three consecutive contests away from Joe Louis Arena. Detroit suffered 1-0 setbacks at Anaheim on Jan. 12 and the New York Rangers four days later before losing a 5-0 decision in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Making the Red Wings' task all the more difficult could be the return of Washington defenseman Mike Green (concussion-like symptoms), who sat out Friday's contest but returned to practice on Saturday without issue.
TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, NHLN-Canada
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (24-19-11): After welcoming the returns of captain Henrik Zetterberg (back) and Howard (knee) on Friday, Detroit now turns its undivided attention to the long-term absence of Pavel Datsyuk.
"I don't know," coach Mike Babcock told MLive.com when asked if the Russian superstar was close to returning. "I'm just like (the reporters). I just keep asking."
Datsyuk has been sidelined since the Winter Classic on New Year's Day with a lower-body injury.
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (24-22-9): Joel Ward was credited with the game-tying goal with seven seconds left in regulation after deflecting captain Alex Ovechkin's blast. Washington is not without its own injury concerns as Brooks Laich exited Friday's contest with tightness in his groin. Laich did not practice on Saturday and is questionable to face the Red Wings.
1. Detroit C Gustav Nyquist has recorded five goals and three assists in his last seven games.
2. Washington C Nicklas Backstrom notched an assist on Friday but hasn't scored a goal since Jan. 10.
3. The teams wrap up their season series on Sunday after splitting 4-3 shootout victories in their previous two meetings.
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