The Washington Times - October 22, 2011, 01:55PM

History is making a little stop at Verizon Center Saturday night. And while the Redskins’ game at the Panthers (see Rich Campbell’s preview here and media predictions here) might still be in the D.C. spotlight, Capitals vs. Red Wings is the focus of the hockey world.

According to Elias, this is just the second time in NHL history that two teams with at least 5-0-0 starts met. The Caps are 6-0-0; Detroit is 5-0-0.


“Anytime you play Detroit, whether they’ve lost 30 or none it’s a test,” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. “For the last 16 years, they’ve been the best team. We feel it’s a huge test, and it’s a huge measuring stick against those guys.”

So much of the challenge for the Caps has to do with the Red Wings’ puck-possession skills. In other words, they don’t turn the puck over a whole heck of a lot.

“They’re the masters. If you want to learn anything about puck possession you just watch their team,” Boudreau said. “We’re just young students as compared to what they have.”

Karl Alzner studies the Red Wings, but he said even that might not answer everything.

“It’s just trying to outwork them, I guess,” the young defenseman said. “They have a ton of skill, and their forwards have a lot more skill than I do. The only way I can beat them is by outworking them.”


History continues with Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom playing his 1,500th game. He becomes just the 14th player in NHL history (and fifth defenseman) to reach that milestone.

“I can’t even count that high. That’s pretty good,” Boudreau said. “No, it’s really good. Not to make light of it. That is a tremendous accomplishment. … To play it at the level he plays at is amazing. He’s still probably in the history of the National Hockey League in the top five defensemen that have ever laced on skates. It’s just an honor just to watch him play.”

Lidstrom said he hadn’t even given the milestone much thought until reporters brought it up this week.

“A thousand games was a big deal for me. I didn’t think I’d reach 1,500 and still be playing,” he said in a phone interview Thursday. “I’m proud to reach 1,500.”