Capitals keep up strong play with win over Red Wings

Washington Capitals right wing Troy Brouwer (20) scores a goal as Detroit Red Wings center Riley Sheahan (15) defends with goalie Jimmy Howard, right, in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — John Carlson and Joel Ward scored in the second period, Braden Holtby stopped 26 shots and the Washington Capitals beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 Saturday night.

Troy Brouwer also scored for Washington, which improved to 12-1-4 in its last 17 games.

Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, named to his second NHL All-Star game earlier Saturday, left early in the first period with a groin injury after attempting to make the save on Brouwer’s goal. Howard finished with two saves.

Jonathan Ericsson scored his first goal of the season for Detroit, and Petr Mrazek made 12 saves in relief of Howard.

Washington finished with just 17 shots on goal, and Alex Ovechkin’s consecutive games with a goal streak ended at five.

Hotlby was making his 18th straight start and has appeared in 24 consecutive games.

The Red Wings fell to 2-2 on their six-game road trip.

Howard was carried off on a stretcher after Brouwer’s goal just 1:53 in. After Washington dumped the puck in, Howard stopped it behind the net and started back around front, but Brouwer got to the puck first. As Brouwer stuffed the puck in on Howard’s right for his 12th of the season, Howard stretched across the crease trying to make the save.

He remained down on his stomach as the trainer came out. After about five minutes, Howard rose to his knees and was taken off.

Carlson capped off a pretty passing play at 1:35 of the second. Nicklas Backstrom crossed the blue line and sent the puck to Andre Burakovsky in the right circle. Burakovsky fed it to Carlson who had just crossed the blue line and he scored on a slap shot to make it 2-0.

Washington, winners of five straight at home, extended the lead at 11:39 of the period when Ward controlled a bouncing puck in the slot with and man on him and fired past Mrazek for his 11th goal.

Ericsson’s blast through traffic from the point got Detroit on the board with 12 seconds left in the second period.

NOTES: Howard was the only Detroit player chosen for the All-Star game. … Ovechkin, named to his sixth All-Star contest, was Washington’s lone selection. … The Capitals improved to 21-1-3 when scoring first. … Washington recalled D Steven Oleksy from Hershey of the AHL and re-assigned D Nate Schmidt to Hershey.

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