As the Caps tried to regroup after a disappointing loss to the Rangers (complete with an uncharacteristic rant from a frustrated Bruce Boudreau, they were off to Hockeytown to take on the Detroit Red Wings. Both teams had some personnel changes as the Caps welcomed back Eric Fehr (who had surgery on both shoulders during the off season), while the Wings suffered the loss of The Mule (Johan Franzen) to a torn ACL for up to four months (ouch and ouch). The Caps finally got the secondary goal scoring they've been waiting for as Matt Bradley netted the first goal of the game early on in the first (with help from pals Tom Poti and Boyd Gordon). Jose Theodore had some stellar saves in the first and the boys looked much more in sync. Ovie had a blazing shot on Chris Osgood's goal in the first but Ozzie displayed the kind of bravado that's helped him lead his team to the Cup finals the past two years. And boy did Matt Bradley get the memo - he had a great showing in the opening period with a goal and a beautifully blocked shot. Must be that new Cascade helmet - nice job Professor Bradley!
The Wings' Ville Lieno lit the lamp for the home team late in the first period and we had ourselves a tie game. Alex Semin found himself in some hot water in the penalty department in the second period with high sticking and interference infractions. The second penalty resulted in a second Wings goal, as Jason Williams shot a rocket as Theo was being screened. Ovie was doing his normal imitation of a wrecking ball, checking Tomas Holmstrom into the visitors bench. He had nine shots and seven hits in 13:07 of ice time. The Caps started the third period on a power play after Wing's captain Nick Lidstrom took a seat for hooking. The Caps' penalty woes continued as Mike Green took a hooking penalty late in the third, which resulted in yet another Red Wings goal by Tomas Holmstrom. Despite a burst of activity with the extra man aimed at Chris Osgood's net in the final seconds of the game, the Caps fell just short at Joe Louis Arena. Final score: Red Wings 3 - Capitals 2
The defense looked better and there was more hustle on their part in tonight's contest compared to their less than stellar performance on Thursday. And Jose really stepped up his game, making an impressive 37 stops against the Wings. Next up, the boys face the best goaltender in the NHL as Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils pay a Columbus Day visit to the Verizon Center.