This game tonight featured two playoff-bound teams who had been struggling, the Minnesota Wild and the Washington Capitals. The Wild had lost two of their last three on their current five-game road trip, and the Caps had lost four in a row; which included going 0-3-0 against the trio of California NHL teams. Tonight, the Caps would return back home to Verizon Center to break their losing streak and their streak of six straight games with only two or less goals, defeating the Wild 4-2. Washington has now earned a point at home in 21 of their last 23 games (20-2-1).
Caps defensemen Nate Schmidt ended a 24-game goalless drought scoring the first goal of the game just seconds before the end of the first period. Schmidt was not the only Capital to break out of a goalless drought, captain and winger Alex Ovechkin ended a 10-game drought in the second period just one second after a Washington power play had ended. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov scored on a power play later on in the second period for his first goal in seven games and his first power play goal in nine games, Jay Beagle would also score his 12th goal of the season late in the third. Center Nicklas Backstrom assisted three times tonight for his first three-point game since back on February 11th, and defensemen John Carlson assisted twice for his first multi-point game since February 9th. Goalie Braden Holtby made 32 saves in this goalie grudge match tonight.
Wild defensemen Matt Dumba started up a comeback right into the start of the third period, scoring a goal to end his 20-game goalless drought. Veteran center Eric Staal would score on a 5-on-3 Wild power play exactly four minutes later for his third consecutive game with a goal, and his fourth in three games but it would not be enough to beat the Caps. Goalie Devan Dubnyk collected 36 saves but did let in all four Washington goals to drop his career record against the Caps to 2-4-0. There were 44 total penalty minutes (29 by Washington) in this game tonight, with more than half of those minutes coming in the second period.
The Caps will have Wednesday off to rest and prepare to face off with the Nashville Predators. Game time will be 10:00 PM/ET.
About the Author
Written by Brendan Keelan
Former High School and College athlete (football, Wesley College).