NHL Hockey

Capitals-Red Wings Preview

The Washington Capitals are seeking to do what their opponents on Sunday just did: end a frustrating losing streak.

It hasn't been a good tour of Western Conference opponents for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who are on a three-game losing streak against those opponents.

The Capitals lost at home to Nashville on Dec. 31 (6-3), at St. Louis on Thursday (5-2) and at Dallas on Friday (2-1 in OT) to suffer their first three-game losing streak of the season.

The fourth and final leg of Washington's stretch against West opponents concludes with a 5 p.m. ET matchup on Sunday at Detroit, which ended a six-game losing streak of its own with a 4-3 overtime win at home over Nashville on Friday.

Washington head coach Todd Reirden came away a little more pleased with his team after the Dallas loss, though, than he did the defeats to Nashville and St. Louis.

"To me, it was pretty much the exact opposite of the prior two losses," Reirden said. "Looking at our second and third (periods against Nashville and St. Louis) where we stumbled a little bit and allowed the other team to take the game over momentum-wise, that was the exact opposite for me (on Friday). It's a shame we only leave with one point. To me, to properly evaluate our team, that's our best second and third (periods) in a little while. That was the message I had for the players."

Also pleased with his team's performance after Friday was Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill, who saw his players celebrate a victory for the first time since Dec. 20 thanks to an overtime winner from Dylan Larkin.

"They scored the tying goal with a minute left, I felt, and I think the bench felt, we weren't losing," Larkin said. "There was no way. We played too well. Too much was going right for us. We were getting too many chances."

Larkin leads the Red Wings in both goals (18) and points (40).

"The want is always there with him," Blashill said of Larkin. "Some guys don't totally want the moment. He absolutely, 100 percent wants the moment."Looking ahead to the third and final meeting of the season against the Capitals, Detroit hopes to keep things a lot closer than when the teams met on Dec. 11 in Washington.

The Capitals jumped all over the Red Wings from the onset, taking a 3-0 lead after the first period and going up 5-0 after the second period was over.Washington also won the first meeting of the season, 3-1, at home on Nov. 23.

The three-game losing streak for Washington has allowed Pittsburgh to tie the Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 52 points, although the Capitals entered Saturday with a game in hand over the Penguins.

Detroit sits in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with 39 points.

The game against Washington will be the fourth of a five-game homestand for the Red Wings.

Updated January 5, 2019

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