Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images
The Washington Capitals downed the Minnesota Wild by a score of 4-3 at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday night, ending the Wild’s three-game winning streak. The victory boosted the Capitals’ lead over the Philadelphia Flyers by three points for first place in the Metropolitan Division, with both teams having played 65 games. The win also snapped the Capitals’ four-game regulation losing streak on the road. Goaltender Braden Holtby made 37 saves in the win.
Capitals’ Lines at Wild
Capitals lines vs Wild:— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) March 2, 2020
The Capitals swapped defensemen Michal Kempny and Nick Jensen in the lineup after their 3-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night. Dmitry Orlov drew in on his opposite side. Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler came into the lineup in favor of Radko Gudas. Holtby made his ninth appearance in 11 games.
Center Ryan Donato followed up his own shot after fanning on the backhand on a breakaway and banked it off of Holtby from behind the net to make it 1-0 Wild 3:01 in.
Captain Alex Ovechkin blasted one past the glove of goaltender Alex Stalock and under the crossbar from just above his office on a five-on-three after getting fed from defenseman John Carlson up top to tie it 4:20 after Donato opened the scoring.
Forward Richard Panik ripped the puck off the post and in from the right dot after getting a loose puck in the offensive zone to make it 2-1 at 10:28.
Ovechkin one-timed a feed from center Evgeny Kuznetsov from the left dot on a three-on-one and beat Stalock stick side 31 seconds later to give the Capitals a two-goal lead with his second of the night and 45th of the season. That marked his 356th career road goal, which moved him into sole possession of third place in NHL history in that category. The goal marked the eighth time the Capitals have followed up one of their goals with another one within a minute. In 17 games against the Wild in his career, the 34-year-old has 17 goals (his average of a goal-per-game against them is the highest he has against any opponent). Ovechkin also recorded his 144th career multi-goal game, moving him past Phil Esposito for sole position of fifth in NHL history. With a secondary assist on the play, forward Ilya Kovalchuk notched his first point as a Capital.
Forward Kevin Fiala one-timed one from the top of the right dot over Holtby’s glove on the power-play after defenseman Jared Spurgeon fed him at the top to cut the lead to one 2:14 after Ovechkin got his second.
The Capitals led 7-2 in blocked shots and 1-0 in takeaways through 20 minutes.
The Wild led 15-11 in shots, 7-2 in hits, won 65% of the faceoffs, and had no giveaways while the Capitals had three in the first.
Each team went one-for-two on the power-play in the period.
The Capitals led 9-8 in second-period shots, 11-5 in blocked shots, 2-1 in takeaways, and went one-for-two on the power-play in the first two periods.
The Wild led 23-20 in shots, 13-8 in hits, had three giveaways while the Capitals had five, went one-for-three on the man advantage, and won 63% of the draws through 40 minutes.
Forward Tom Wilson sniped one past the glove of Stalock from the slot after Ovechkin fed him from the left dot to double the Capitals’ lead 40 seconds into the third. It marked Ovechkin’s seventh three-point game of the season.
Forward Zach Parise buried his own rebound through the wickets of Holtby while hacking and whacking in front of the net after getting a feed from Fiala at the goal line to make it 4-3 on the power-play with 7:07 left.
The Capitals led 9-8 in third-period shots, 15-9 in blocked shots, had six giveaways while the Wild had seven, and went one-for-two on the power-play.
The Wild led 40-30 in shots, including 17-10 in the third, 4-3 in takeaways, 15-8 in hits, went two-for-four on the man advantage, and won 62% of the draws.
The Capitals return home to host the Flyers for a huge tilt on Wednesday night. Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBCSN beginning at 7 PM ET.
By Harrison Brown