Philipp Grubauer recorded his third shutout of the season, Brett Connolly scored the only goal and the Washington Capitals edged the Detroit Red Wings 1-0 on Thursday night at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
Grubauer turned aside 39 shots for his sixth career shutout. Jakub Vrana assisted on Connolly’s 15th goal of the season as the Capitals won for the sixth time in seven games.
Jimmy Howard stopped 25 shots but the Red Wings were eliminated from playoff contention for the second straight season. The Red Wings have dropped 11 of their last 12 games. Detroit snapped a 10-game winless streak, its longest in 36 years, by defeating Philadelphia 5-4 in a shootout on Tuesday.
The Wings had allowed at least four goals in nine of their 10 games in March. Their defense was much tighter on Thursday but their offense was diffused by a hot goaltender. Justin Abdelkader and Andreas Athanasiou led the way with five shots on goal apiece.
A Red Wings turnover allowed the Capitals to break the scoreless tie. Vrana pounced on a Detroit turnover and dished it to Connolly on the two-on-none breakaway, as Connolly fired it past Howard with 13:19 remaining in regulation.
Both goalies got a little lucky in the second period. Washington’s Lars Eller banged a shot off the goal post with under five minutes left in the period. Moments later, Detroit’s Dylan Larkin did the same.
John Carlson clanged a shot off the crossbar during a Washington power player early in the third. After Connnolly’s tally, Washington nearly extended its lead with just over five minutes left but Alex Ovechkin was also victimized by the post.
The Wings pulled Howard during the final minute but couldn’t get off a quality shot.
The teams split their first two meetings, with both winning on the road in overtime. Washington, which leads the Metropolitan Division, also plays four of its next six games on the road. Detroit goes on the road for three of its next four outings.
—Field Level Media