Tonight the Minnesota Wild welcomed to St. Paul one of the great teams of the past decade to never win a cup, the Washington Capitals. On the line tonight, the Wild’s 13 game home point streak as well as the Capitals 6 game winning streak against the Wild. There were some early signs that the Wild were going to be able to keep up with the Capitals potent offense, but in the end Alexander Ovechkin and company would be too much for the Wild.
Things started off fine for the Wild as they were generating chances early and putting pucks on net. Zach Parise was finding little holes on the ice and generating some chances. Early on Nick Seeler found himself face to face with Ovi streaking in with the puck and managed to knock it loose. The Wild were controlling much of the play until about halfway through the first period when Nino Niederreiter would get the gate, 2 minutes for hooking. While the Capitals were unable to convert on the PP, it seemed to light a bit of a fire under Ovi and the team as a whole.
The first period would close out without a goal being scored but it didn’t take long for the Capitals to get on the scoreboard in the 2nd. Tom Wilson would light the lamp for 1 of his 2 goals, scoring the first one just 59 seconds in the 2nd period. The Capitals took control for large portions of the middle frame and despite the Wild outshooting the Caps 9-8 they were struggling to get anything going. Wilson’s wrister beat Devan Dubnyk over the glove and came through a screen by Jared Spurgeon. Dubnyk was late in spotting it and was cleanly beat. He would give up another very similar goal in the 3rd period.
Dubnyk struggled tonight, finishing the game stopping just 22 of 26 shots with the Capitals capping it all off with an empty netter late. While Dubs and the Wild were able to kill both of the Capitals power plays in the game and were dominate in the faceoff dot, once the Caps got rolling there wasn’t much stopping them. Turnovers exacerbated the the situation tonight. Matt Dumba coughed up the puck a couple times and the passing attack was lacking the accuracy to get a good flow going.
5 minutes into the 2nd period Ovi would fire a shot from the circle that powered its way past Dubnyk and gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead they would carry with them into the 3rd. In the final frame the Wild would come to life, peppering Capitals netminder Philipp Grubauer with 18 shots on goal. The Wild would manage to get goals from Nino and Eric Staal, but the Capitals would add 3 more goals of their own including an empty netter to close things out for the night.
A common theme for tonight was Ovechkin. To go along with his goal in the 2nd period he would add 3 assists, getting those on both Wilson goals and a 3rd period rebound goal where Niklas Backstrom found himself alone behind the Wild defense. The Wild just did not have an answer for the Russian star and with some control issues this evening it was just too much adversity for the Wild to overcome. Their home point streak would come to a close and the Capitals would extend their winning streak over the Wild to 7 games.
Next up for your Wild they will welcome the Anaheim Ducks into the X to close out their 5-game home stand. The puck drops this Saturday in a 1:00 pm matinee game.