Photo: Daily Herald
The Washington Capitals will face the Minnesota Wild for the second and final time this season at Capital One Arena on Friday. The last time these teams saw each other was on November 13 at Xcel Energy Center in a 5-2 win for the Capitals. Action from the District can be seen on NBC Sports Washington regionally or NHL Network for those outside the DMV beginning at 7 PM ET.
Washington continues a four-game homestand as they welcome the Wild. With a home record of 21-9-6, the Capitals are looking for a victory as they fell 5-4 in overtime to the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night. They are 7-2-1 in their last ten games and will close their Western Conference matchups for the 2018-19 regular season on Friday night.
Captain Alex Ovechkin has 87 points and 48 goals in 73 games played this season. He has not scored since March 16 when the Capitals took a 6-3 loss to the Lightning at Amalie Arena. Ovechkin had two goals that night but has also had an assist in the two games afterward. Defenseman John Carlson leads the team with 53 assists, the latest being during Wednesday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Lightning. He has now tied his season-best with the 2017-18 season’s assists.
The Capitals have a 21.6% effective power play is currently good for ninth place in the league. The -penalty kill is 23rd as the team has an efficiency of 79%. Ovechkin carries the most power-play goals (17) for Washington. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov is second with eight and center Nicklas Backstrom has recorded seven this season. Capitals right wing Tom Wilson leads the team with 115 penalty minutes.
Currently with a record of 27-18-5 and a save percentage of .907, goaltender Braden Holtby is 2-2-1 in his recent five games. In his last three, he has made 74 saves and has allowed eleven goals. Holtby’s numbers against the Wild include a record of 8-2-0, a save percentage of .922, and 2.29 goals against average. It was goaltender Pheonix Copley started when the Capitals were in Minnesota in November, when he made 26 saves.
With just one point away from a Wild Card spot in the west, the Wild are eager to grab that spot during their short, two-game road trip in the east. The team had a crushing loss Tuesday night, which concluded their five-game homestand when the Colorado Avalanche won 3-1. In the last ten games, the Wild are 3-4-3. In addition, they have a 19-15-2 road record.
Left winger Zach Parise leads the team with 26 goals and 58 points. He has had two goals and three points in his last three games. Parise had the game-winning goal for the Wild during that Avalanche game back on Tuesday. Friday night’s game against the Capitals will be Parise’s 945th career game and he could potentially record his 360th goal or 385th assist in his career against the Caps. Defenseman Ryan Sutter has the most assists for Minnesota with 39 under his belt.
The Wild are currently 13th in the NHL with an efficiency of 20.8% on the power play and staying within the top-20 on the penalty kill, which they have an efficiency of 80.5% on. Parise has 10 power play goals for Minnesota while left wing Jason Zucker has seven and defenseman Matt Dumba has six. Defenseman Nick Seeler leads the Wild with 57 penalty minutes.
Goaltender Devan Dubnyk is 1-4-0 is his last five games. He is 28-25-6 with a .912 save percentage and two shutouts this season. Dubnyk has allowed seven goals while stopping 88 shots in his last three games. He is 2-6-1 with a .872 save percentage and a goals-against average of 3.82 in his career against the Capitals.
- Ovechkin is just two goals shy of 50 goals this season.
- Backstrom is looking to hit the 70-point plateau and is two away from hitting 20 goals.
- The Capitals are fifth in the NHL with the most points. Tampa Bay Lightning (118), Calgary Flames (97), Boston Bruins (97), and the San Jose Sharks (94) are in the top four.
It will be an interesting clash at Capital One Area on Friday as Washington and Minnesota are nearing the end of an intense regular season. The Capitals are looking to maintain the lead in the Metropolitan division while the Wild are fighting for a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
By Della Young