DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings will begin their weekend-long 25th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday night, hosting the Washington Capitals at Little Caesars Arena.
Puck drop between Detroit (4-3-2; 10 points) and Washington (5-4-2; 12 points) is set for 7 p.m., with broadcast coverage on Bally Sports Detroit and the Red Wings Radio Network (97.1 The Ticket in Detroit).
Ticketed fans are encouraged to arrive and be in their seats early. The Meijer Entry SW will open at 4:30 p.m. for photo opportunities with the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Campbell Bowl. A special pregame ceremony honoring the 1997 championship squad that won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 42 years will begin at approximately 6 p.m.
The Red Wings aspire to return to the glory achieved in that back-to-back championship run. And according to head coach Derek Lalonde, title contenders are remembered for their depth.
Before joining Detroit, Lalonde spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he helped guide the franchise to three straight Stanley Cup Final appearances, including back-to-back championships in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
“That’s how you build a winning team,” Lalonde said. “Everyone will remember all those Detroit teams with the superstars, no different than Tampa. This is a back-to-back celebration, and I was involved in something where everyone is going to remember (Steven) Stamkos and (Nikita) Kucherov. But in reality, it was the (Anthony) Cirelli’s, (Alex) Killorn’s and (Pat) Maroon’s. Those types of guys you have here too with the Grind Line (Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, Darren McCarty).”
Lalonde, who acknowledged that “getting to the top of this league is so hard,” said he’s thankful his players can learn from Red Wings legends who currently work in the club’s front office.
“They had to start somewhere,” Lalonde said. “It’s a great reference. We are somewhere in that process where they were.”
The Capitals have dropped two straight games and are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. Washington has been bit by the injury bug early this season, placing T.J. Oshie, John Carlson and Beck Malenstyn on injured reserve.
Alex Ovechkin currently sits at 785 career NHL goals, one behind Gordie Howe’s league record for the most with one team. Ovechkin (5-4-9) is also tied with Dylan Strome (2-7-9) for the team lead in points with nine, while former Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha (3-1-4) is set to play his first game at Little Caesars Arena as a member of the Capitals. Goalie Darcy Kuemper has a 4-3-1 record and 2.39 goals-against average.
Washington will host Detroit at Capital One Arena on Dec. 19, then again on Feb. 21, 2023, to conclude the season series.