Capitals defeated Red Wings, 4-3 |  News, Sports, Jobs

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Simon Edvinsson (77) goes through the boards past Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, March 26, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON – Dylan Strome has never had the opportunity to play playoff hockey in the NHL in front of sellout crowds. Sure, once in the 2020 bubble when the stands were empty, but he doesn’t count on that.

On Tuesday night, in the closest he’s ever felt to the real thing, Strome played like he was about to end his drought. He scored twice, including the overtime winner, to give the Washington Capitals a massive 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in a key game that could ultimately prove decisive in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

“I am happy to participate and contribute,” Strome said after scoring his 24th and 25th goals of the season to set a career high. “It’s a lot of fun to play. Everyone wants to thrive in the big games and play games that really matter. That’s what it feels like right now, and we’re doing the best we can.”

After 30 saves from Charlie Lindgren in another great start, the Capitals moved two points ahead of Detroit and still have an extra game to play. They are also bottom of Philadelphia for third place in the Metropolitan Division after the Flyers lost in overtime to the New York Rangers.

Washington has won three straight and five of six to improve its postseason standing to its best in weeks. There are 10 games left for the Caps to play this regular season as they try to bounce back after failing to qualify last year.

“People are talking about the Caps,” Strome said. “Maybe people didn’t peg us to be a playoff team at the beginning of the season, but I think we’re proving a lot of people wrong right now.”

Strome and his teammates came to play in perhaps the franchise’s most meaningful game since 2022, with Lindgren making plenty of stops and big offense from the entire lineup. Fourth linemen Nic Dowd and Connor McMichael also scored, and they were eager to thank Lindgren for keeping them in it when the Red Wings were pressing.

“Chuck has given us an opportunity to win a lot of hockey games where we’ve had slow starts.” said Dowd. “Tonight in particular, I thought he gave us an opportunity to stay in that game.”

Detroit’s Alex DeBrincat ended a 12-goal drought, David Perron scored on a power play late in the second and Patrick Kane tied it with 5:20 left in the third.

“It’s kind of what Kane does, isn’t it?” said Strome, who played with Kane and DeBrincat in Chicago. “He scores big goals.”

Kane’s goal to send the game into overtime allowed the Red Wings to salvage a crucial point, with the New York Islanders also chasing them.

“Perhaps gripping our wands a little too tightly thinking too much at the moment.” said captain Dylan Larkin. “You see a guy like Kaner come back for us and score, a guy who’s been through that and played in big hockey games, it’s huge to see.”

Detroit’s second straight loss and 10th time in 13 games could ultimately hurt its chances of making the playoffs for the first time since 2015-16. There are nine games left for coach Derek Lalonde’s team to move back into a spot ahead of either Philadelphia or Washington, with one more game against the Capitals remaining on the homecoming schedule on April 9.

NEXT

The Red Wings will continue their road trip Thursday night at the Carolina Hurricanes.

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