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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Monday, December 17th (All times eastern)

Washington Capitals (13-18-2) at Detroit Red Wings (23-6-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The powerful Detroit Red Wings will aim for their ninth victory in 10 games when they welcome the Washington Capitals for tonight's test at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings have a 23-6-3 record this season and lead the NHL with a whopping 49 points. Detroit also currently holds a 15-point lead over St. Louis and Columbus for first place in the Central Division.

Detroit's latest victory came Saturday evening against the visiting Florida Panthers. Brian Rafalski had a critical third-period goal, as well as an assist, to help the Red Wings down Florida, 5-2.

Chris Osgood saved 33 shots in the win and improved his amazing season record to 15-1-1. Osgood has won five straight starts and has combined with Dominik Hasek to give Detroit an excellent goaltending tandem.

Pavel Datsyuk also had a goal and assist, and Valtteri Filppula scored on a penalty shot as Detroit got back on the winning track after having a seven- game win streak snapped in a shootout loss to Edmonton last Thursday.

The Red Wings haven't been dealt a regulation loss since dropping a 3-2 decision to Nashville on October 22 and have registered a point in 10 consecutive contests.

Tonight's test marks the third portion of a four-game homestand for the Red Wings, who are 14-2-1 in the Motor City this season. Detroit will wrap the residency Wednesday against Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, the Capitals have picked up their play in December, as the club from the nation's capital is 5-1-1 in seven games this month.

Washington posted a victory its last time out, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum on Saturday. Brian Pothier scored the game- winner in the third period and the Caps held on for the 3-2 victory.

Pothier added an assist while Tomas Fleischmann added a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who have won four of their last five games. Brent Johnson made 23 saves in the win.

The Caps, who are 7-9-1 as the visiting team this year, are completing a brief two-game road trip tonight.

Detroit has won two straight and five of the last six meetings with the Capitals. Washington is also 2-5-1 (5 losses, 1 tie) in its last eight trips to Motown.

12/17 10:35:52 ET

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