WASHINGTON – Robby Fabbri tied it early in the third period, captain Dylan Larkin scored in overtime and the Detroit Red Wings came back to beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 Wednesday night.
Larkin beat Vitek Vanecek 1:37 into OT on a goal assisted on by impressive rookies Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider. Adam Erne started the comeback with a goal in the second, and Thomas Greiss made 26 saves for the Red Wings.
Detroit has won four of its first seven games, showing significant progress in the middle of a long-term organizational rebuild. This was the kind of game the Red Wings would often try hard and lose in recent seasons, and it mattered to them to come out on top.
“Every game and every season that goes by is huge for experience and confidence,” Ernie said. "A big thing for us is just winning those tight games, and that’s going to tell us a lot about how were going to be as a team.”
Alex Ovechkin scored his eighth goal of the season and Evgeny Kuznetsov his fifth to stake Washington to a 2-0 lead. Ovechkin’s goal was the 738th of his career, putting him three back of Brett Hull for fourth on the NHL career list.
Aside from those two power-play goals, the Capitals looked out of sorts against a less talented opponent and paid the price for a few defensive zone blunders and bad rebounds. They were lucky to come out of it with a point and have yet to lose this season in regulation.
“They’re a pesky team,” Washington's Tom Wilson said of the Red Wings. “They’re young, they’re fast and they stuck with us.”
Making his fifth start of the season, Vanecek allowed three goals on 25 shots. Detroit's penalty kill stopped Washington on a power play midway through the third period to help the game get to OT.
“We expect to score every single time we go out there and that’s obviously not possible, but that’s our goal,” Capitals defenseman and power-play point man John Carlson said of a unit that is 2 of its last 19.
That's where some of Detroit's young skill made a difference. Coach Jeff Blashill trusted Raymond — who was coming off a hat trick at Chicago — and Seider on the ice with Larkin, and they validated it by setting up the winner.
“We had them out there because we think they give us a chance to make a real good hockey play, and they did,” Blashill said. “Both those guys have played good hockey for us, and they deserved to be out there.”
NOTES: Filip Hronek returned to the lineup for Detroit, replacing injured D Gustav Lindstrom. Hronek made the move to the net that created Erne's goal. ... Former Red Wings F Anthony Mantha had an assist in his first game against his former team. Washington acquired him at the trade deadline last season. ... C Nic Dowd returned for Washington after missing last game with a lower-body injury. With rookies Connor McMichael and Hendrix Lapierre staying in the lineup, F Daniel Sprong was a healthy scratch for the first time this season to make room for Dowd. ... The Red Wings were in Washington for the first time since March 12, 2020 — the day the NHL paused that season at the start of the pandemic.
Red Wings: Return home to face the Florida Panthers on Friday.
Capitals: Host the winless Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
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