WASHINGTON – The Capitals might get a big piece of their offense back when they host the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.
Forward T.J. Oshie hopes to return to the Washington lineup after missing the past 11 games with an upper-body injury.
“I’ve been hoping to play for a week, so I’m hoping to play [Tuesday],” Oshie told NHL.com. “We’ll see what the training staff says, see what the doctors say, see what the coaches say, but today was a full [practice]. I passed all the tests I’ve got to pass.”
Oshie took part in a full practice Monday for the first time since he was injured on a hit from Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey on Nov. 14.
The Capitals (17-9-3) are atop the Metropolitan Division and returning home after a 2-1 road trip. Coach Todd Reirden said Oshie could play Tuesday, which would provide a boost to the offense overall, but especially the power play.
“He’s a special player in all aspects of the game, but certainly on the power play for us and in that diamond spot he does a really good job on the entries in terms of controlled entries,” Reirden told the Washington Post.
“When we do have to dump pucks in, he is good at recoveries. His work ethic and instincts to be able to win puck battles, I just think it increases our whole intensity of how our power play recovers pucks.”
Oshie has 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in 18 games this season, including one goal and two assists on the power play.
Different players have stepped up as the Capitals went 9-2 in Oshie’s absence and Alex Ovechkin has been on a roll. He has 14 points (10 goals, four assists) in his past 11 games.
Goalie Braden Holtby is 10-2-2 with a 2.11 goals-against average (GAA) and a .924 save percentage against the Red Wings, including the win on Nov. 23 when Washington defeated the visiting Red Wings 3-1.
Ovechkin has 13 goals and 10 assists in 24 games against Detroit, including a goal and an assist last month.
Capitals forward Tom Wilson will miss his third game in a row Tuesday with an upper-body injury. Reirden told reporters Wilson will hopefully resume skating later this week.
Detroit (14-13-4) comes in off a 3-1 home win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.
Goalie Jimmy Howard made a season-high 42 saves after sitting out the past two games.
“Jimmy Howard is my favorite thing about this game,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill told NHL.com. “We weren’t good enough tonight. They outplayed us, and Jimmy gave us a chance to win the game.”
Dennis Cholowski, Frans Nielsen and Dylan Larkin scored for Detroit, which has at least a point in five of its past seven games (4-2-1).
The Red Wings went ahead 3-0 and held the lead, something they’d been having trouble with of late.
“There have been a lot of blown two-goal leads, and one that was three goals, but tonight we did a better job of playing with a lead,” Howard told NHL.com. “We bent, but we didn’t break.”
Coach Jeff Blashill declined to say who’ll be in goal against Washington.
Howard is 4-3-3 with a 2.82 GAA and a .900 save percentage versus Washington. Jonathan Bernier is 4-5 with a 2.83 GAA and a .894 save percentage against the Capitals. Bernier took the loss in the teams’ first meeting.