Caps erase 2-goal deficit, edge Wings in shootout

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- The Washington Capitals are the latest to capitalize on the Detroit Red Wings' recent inability to hold leads and win at home.

Center Nicklas Backstrom's shootout goal gave the Capitals a 4-3 win over the Red Wings on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena after Detroit took a 3-1 lead into the third period.

It was the Red Wings' seventh consecutive home loss and their 11th straight overtime loss on home ice.

"Very surprising. It just goes to show you how fickle the game is," said Washington coach Adam Oates, who began his Hall of Fame NHL career with Detroit in the mid-80's. "The same team could win a zillion in a row."

Center Brooks Laich and right winger Alexander Ovechkin scored and center Michael Latta got his first NHL goal for Washington (11-8-1). Goaltender Braden Holtby made 34 saves and Backstrom scored the only goal of the shootout.

"It's a huge win. That's a good team," said Ovechkin, who trimmed the led to 3-2 early in the third period. "Everyone knows what they have out there and how good they are. They got a 3-1 lead and we kept pushing."

Forward Johan Franzen had two goals and an assist and defenseman Danny Dekeyser had a goal and an assist for Detroit (9-5-6). Defenseman Jakub Kindl had two assists and goalie Jimmy Howard made 30 saves.

"Same thing, same outcome but we can't get frustrated, can't get discouraged. Somehow, some way keep a positive mind frame in here and just continue to keep going out there and working because we're doing a lot of good things," Howard said. "It's tough to take over a game for a full 60 minutes. There's going to be waves and ups and downs. Mistakes happen, we're just going to have to find a way to overcome them."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was asked what he said to the team about their rut.

"I don't tell them anything, they're big boys. They played the game, they know what's going on," Babcock said. "I'll talk to them tomorrow. Right now I'm not telling them anything."

Latta tied the game at 3 and sent it into overtime with his first career goal, with 8:06 left in the third. Latta poked in a loose puck from just outside the slot.

"Obviously nice to get it when it meant so much and not a 7-0 game or nothing," he said.

Ovechkin brought Washington within 3-2, 3:19 into the third period with his 15th goal. He beat Howard with a one-timer from the bottom of the left circle.

DeKeyser's power-play goal with 18 seconds left in the second period gave Detroit a 3-1 lead. He put in a one-time shot from the right circle for DeKeyser's second goal.

Holtby made a spectacular toe save -- with the puck right along the goal line -- on Tomas Tatar's wrap-around attempt with 5:50 left in the first period.

Laich opened the scoring 5:50 into the game when he backhanded in his own rebound after swooping in off the right wing following a turnover by DeKeyser in the neutral zone.

But Franzen then took over.

His power-play goal with 4:08 left in the opening period tied it at 1. He beat Holtby with a screened snap shot from the left circle. Franzen struck again just 2:18 left when he put in a one-time shot from the bottom of the left circle. It was Franzen's fourth goal of the season.

NOTES: Red Wings RW Daniel Alfredsson was a late scratch because of a sore groin. ... Capitals D Mike Green did not play due to a lower-body injury. ... Detroit D Jonathan Ericsson returned after missing 10 games with a separated shoulder. ... Washington D Steve Oleksy is from the Detroit-area suburb of Macomb. ... Red Wings RW Patrick Eaves cleared waivers Friday and was sent to Grand Rapids of the AHL. ... Detroit also sent C Luke Glendening to Grand Rapids on Friday. ... Capitals rookie RW Tom Wilson and backup G Michal Neuvirth both played junior hockey with the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers, who are based in suburban Detroit. ... Red Wings C Stephen Weiss missed his third game with a sore groin.
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