|Red Wings face another stern test in Capitals|
DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings viewed this week as a litmus test of where they stacked up against some of the NHL's better teams.
So far, they are failing miserably.
A 3-2 loss Monday on home ice to the Tampa Bay Lightning was followed by a 6-3 setback Wednesday at Toronto during which the Maple Leafs scored on four of their first five shots.
"It's one of those nights where it just kind of goes in for them," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said, "It just seemed that everything they threw at the net went in. You can't say that's always goaltending. Sometimes that's just how it goes."
Friday, the third leg of this triple crown of talented clubs comes when the defending Presidents' Trophy champion Washington Capitals arrive at Little Caesars Arena, and the Wings (4-3-0) find themselves seeking to avoid dropping to .500 after a solid 4-1 start to the season.
There's a double-edged sword in play as far as the Wings are concerned. As a team, they don't feel they've played all that badly in the two losses this week.
"I thought we were the better team (against Tampa) five on five," Blashill said. "I thought we had more quality chances."
He was equally elated by much of what his team did against the Maple Leafs.
"I thought we did tons of good stuff and had lots of moments, especially in the first when we carried the play," Blashill said.
Yet they have nothing in the standings to show for it, and that's ultimately what matters.
"We didn't get any points (in Toronto)," Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "We didn't get any points last game. That's what it comes down to.
"Now we've got to refocus here and keep playing good hockey at home here against Washington."
The Capitals (3-3-1) are also enduring a skid of their own. They've lost their last two games by a combined 10-2 and have dropped three of their last four games.
The Capitals shuffled their forward lines at practice Thursday, moving Tom Wilson up into the top six, skating alongside Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. Andre Burakovsky, goalless through seven games, was dropped to Wilson's spot on the third line with Brett Connolly and Lars Eller.
The latter unit skated together much of last season and Washington is hoping that the familiarity will spark a turnaround in Burakovsky's production.
"It's been a couple games now without a goal, and it's not acceptable," Burakovsky told the Washington Post. "Obviously, the most important thing is that we win the games, but obviously, I need to get going and producing, too.
"I've been playing with two of the best guys in the league and nothing really happened."
Finding more balance in their attack is an issue facing the Capitals. Of the 22 goals they've scored this season, 17 have come off the sticks of Alex Ovechkin (nine), Oshie (five) and Backstrom (three).
"There's no excuses ever, but sometimes it takes a while," Capitals forward Jay Beagle told the Washington Post about the lack of balanced scoring. "It's nothing that's alarming. You just have to make sure that you keep getting the chances, and I think we are getting chances. It's just a matter of burying them."
The Capitals will be without forward Tyler Graovac, listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser (sprained ankle) also won't play and is expected to miss at least another week.