Beginning their longest road trip of the 2016-17 season the Washington Capitals started off with a showdown at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN against the slumping Minnesota Wild. Minnesota had only won one game (1-7-1) since losing 4-2 to the Caps two weeks ago, in Washington, and had a record of 3-10-1 in the month of March. The Caps won tonight 5-4 in overtime after losing a two-goal lead late in the third to extend their point streak to seven, season winning streak to five and winning streak against the Wild to five.
Caps wingers Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie have been neck and neck all season for the team leader in goals; tonight, they would combine for all five of the Caps goals. Ovechkin would score his 17th career hat trick tonight, with all three coming on the power play, for his first multi-power play goal performance since December 18th of the 2015-16 season and his first hat trick since November 23rd of this season. He has now scored five power play goals in his last four games and has scored his second consecutive hat trick in Minnesota dating back to February 11, 2016. Oshie’s two goals tonight, which included the game-winner in overtime, gave him five goals in his last five games. Center Nicklas Backstrom assisted on three goals tonight; he has nine assists in his last five games and 15 assists in the month of March this season. Marcus Johansson assisted on two goals; he now has five assists in five games. Goalie Braden Holtby recorded 26 saves, and despite losing a two-goal cushion earned his fifth straight win and 40th of the season which makes him the third goalie in NHL history to record 40 or more wins in three consecutive seasons.
Wild winger Jason Pominville and center Martin Hanzal each collected a goal and an assist each tonight. Pominville’s goal was his first in nine games, and Hanzal recorded his first multi-point game in 12 games. Defensemen Jared Spurgeon scored goal and assisted twice tonight, this helped the Wild lead a third period comeback and help him break a 19-game goalless drought. Center Eric Staal tied the game 4-4 for the Wild with 0:26 left which was reviewed on a questionable offsides call in the third period; he extended his goal scoring streak to three straight games and send the game to overtime. Goalie Devan Dubnyk recorded 15 saves and drops to 3-8-1 in the month of March and 2-4-1 all-time against Washington.
Washington has not been defeated by the Wild since March 5, 2015. The Caps next game will be Wednesday as they will travel further West to Colorado to take on the Avalanche. Game time will be 10:00 PM/ET.
About the Author
Written by Brendan Keelan
Former High School and College athlete (football, Wesley College).