The Washington Capitals beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3, Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The win raises the Capitals record to a record-setting 40-9-4. The loss drops the Wild’s record to 23-21-10. The Capitals wrap-up their three-game road trip Saturday night in Dallas when they take on the Stars.
Starting lines for the Capitals:
Brooks Orpik was scratched due to the cracked bone he sustained from a blocked shot against Detroit on November 10th. Jay Beagle was scratched due to a wrist injury he sustained against Buffalo on December 30th. Stanislav Galiev was a healthy scratch. The goalie match-up, provided by @washcaps:
The first period, like Tuesday night’s tilt against the Predators, was riddled with penalties. Alex Ovechkin would grab control of the game for the Caps in the second period, scoring three times in the middle frame. Ovechkin’s second period hat trick was the first time since 3/3/08 (Bruins) in which Ovechkin scored a hat trick in the same period.
A rather even battle during 5-on-5 play through the first ten minutes of play. The Caps were whistled for the game’s first penalty, a slashing call on Justin Williams at 3:53. The Wild could only muster one shot on goal, which was denied by Holtby. The Capitals went on their first power play as the result of a roughing call on the Wild’s Nate Prosser at 11:24 of the opening frame. 40 seconds into the power play, T.J. Oshie was called for interference in the offensive zone, nullifying the Capitals power play. Matt Nisakanen was called for hooking at 13:57, giving the Wild an additional man advantage, but the Caps penalty kill would come up strong once again, allowing just one shot. The first period would end scoreless. The Capitals led in shots on goal 10-8.
The Caps started the second period with 1:55 remaining in a power play, but would once again come up empty, managing just one shot on goal. However, just seconds later after the power play expired, Alex Ovechkin would snag a puck at middle ice, and later receive a pass to score the game’s first goal at 2:14 of the middle frame. This was Ovechkin’s 32nd goal of the season.
Alex Ovechkin would strike again, a little over three minutes later, on a power play goal to stretch the Caps lead to 2-0. Ovechkin’s second goal of the game came on a punch-in of a rebound off the back board at 5:21 of the second period.
The Wild would get on the board at 11:27 of the second period on a punch-in from in front of the net by Charlie Coyle, closing the Caps lead to 2-1.
Alex Ovechkin would notch his third goal of the period at 14:55, giving Ovechkin a hat trick in the second period. This would be Ovechkin’s 14th hat trick of his career.
The third period would end with the Capitals leading 3-1. The Capitals led in shots on goal 24-23.
Jason Chimera would add an empty net goal with 51 seconds left in the game to seal the victory for the Caps.The Wild would add a goal with 3 seconds left to close the gap, but it would be too little, too late for the Wild.