Photo: Nick Wass / AP
After a slow start, the Wild have won four in a row and occupy the first wild-card spot. Minnesota is coming off a 6-4 win over the Nashville Predators last night.
Devan Dubnyk had three straight shutouts before being lit by Predators’ center Ryan Johansen 49 seconds into the game on Thursday. He made 22 saves in the win. Nashville had a 3-0 lead at the midpoint of the second period and the Wild scored four times in the final seven minutes to win the game. He will likely get the call in net
Wild winger Jason Zucker is on a tear right now, going into Saturday night’s contest with the Capitals on a five-game goal streak. He has eight goals in that span, including his first career hat trick in the Wild’s 3-0 win at Bell Centre against the Montreal Canadiens on November 9. He leads the Wild with 11 goals and has 16 points in 18 games this season.
Former Carolina Hurricanes’ captain Eric Staal leads the team with 17 points. Seven of those are goals.
The Wild make a one-stop trip to the Nation’s Capital before going back home to face the New Jersey Devils on Monday night. Daniel Winnik will also make his return to D.C. after scoring 14 goals and 30 points in 92 career games as a Capital. He signed a 1-year contract with the Wild prior to the start of the season. He has two goals and five points in his first 18 games with his new team.
The Capitals return home from a short two-game road trip, where they were outscored by a combined score of 12-5, giving up six goals in each game. They lost 6-3 in Nashville on Tuesday and 6-2 in Colorado on Thursday. This comes after they won five of their previous seven outings.
The Capitals are kicking off a four-game homestand on Saturday against the Wild and start a stretch where they play 9 out of their next 10 games at home.
Jakub Vrana was scratched in Thursday’s 6-2 loss in Colorado and whether he will return Saturday is unknown. After the Czech wing scored twice and added three assists in his first six games, he has two goals, including an empty net goal against the Penguins last Friday, in his last 13 games.
Braden Holtby will likely get the call on Saturday against the Wild after being pulled in Washington’s 6-3 loss in Nashville on Tuesday. He made 19 saves on 25 shots in the game. The loss snapped his personal six-game winning streak. Lifetime against Minnesota, he is 7-2-0 in 9 outings with a .917 save percentage and a 2.43 goals against average.
-Washington has won its past five meetings against Minnesota
-Alex Ovechkin has 14 goals and 20 points in 12 career games against Minnesota. He has a five-game goal streak against the Wild, including two hat-tricks
-Washington has won four straight games at home heading into this stretch where they will play 9 of 10 at home
A Look Back in Time
After going through their first four-game regulation losing streak in over two years, including a pointless 3-game California road swing, the Capitals beat the Wild 4-2 after returning. Washington got goals from Nate Schmidt, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Jay Beagle en route to the victory. Washington went on to win 11 of their remaining 14 games following that win. That included a 5-4 overtime win at Xcel Energy Center against Wild on March 28.
By Harrison Brown