Hockey / Sports

Red Wings turn back Capitals

DETROIT -- What a way to finish your 3,000th home game in front of a wildly cheering crowd.

The Red Wings, who played their first home game in the 1926-27 season at Windsor Arena while Olympia Stadium was being finished, rose to the occasion against the Washington Capitals at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night, winning, 4-3, in a shootout.

And that was after Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin looked like he might spoil Detroit's party when he made it 3-3 with 7 seconds left in regulation.

Until that moment, the Wings had outshot Washington, 45-28, and had dominated the contest all over the ice.

Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard made at least five acrobatic saves in the closing seconds of the third before Ovechkin sent it into sudden death, which ended with the teams still knotted.

Patrick Eaves didn't disappoint, however, when it came his chance to win it for the Wings in the shoot-out.

Shooting seventh, he drilled it by goalie Michal Neuvirth, while Howard denied Washington's final shooter, Jay Beagle.

The fans at the Joe sang Howard's praises.

"Their goalie played overly well," Eaves said after his heroics. "We had a lot of shots, and we are going to see a lot from Washington again when we play them Sunday, but it was a great win."

Added Eaves, who played stoutly all game: "We were assertive right from the start against a great opponent. It's going to be a big game on Sunday. I just want to contribute and pick up points every night. Fortunately I helped tonight."

Coach Mike Babcock praised Eaves.

"Good for Patty," he said. "It gives you confidence as a player when something like that happens. He played well."

The Wings held Ovechkin in check most of the game. They got value from Eaves, Gustav Nyquist, Luke Glendening and Drew Miller on offense and stout work from Danny DeKeyser, Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson on defense.

Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg put the body on Ovechkin in the first period and showed he was recovered from his back injury that had sidelined him the past couple of games.

The Wings had 22 shots on goal in the first period and could have taken the game by the throat but for the efforts of Neurvirth.

(c)2014 Detroit Free Press

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