|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT, November 13, 2018
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota Attendance: 19,101
Wild return home to face the Capitals
Washington Capitals at Minnesota Wild
- Washington lost, 4-1, to Arizona on Sunday, managing just one goal for the second straight game. They'll look to avoid their first three-game streak with one goal or fewer since a four-game streak in January 2014.
- The Wild beat the Blues on Sunday, 3-2, to close out a seven-game road trip at 5-2-0. The win was the Wild's eighth comeback win of the season, most in the NHL. Minnesota is 8-3-1 (.708) this season when allowing the first goal of the game, also the best mark in the NHL.
- The Capitals have won seven straight against the Wild dating back to March 2015. That's the Caps' second-longest active win streak over any opponent; they've beaten the Bruins in 13 straight.
- Nicklas Backstrom scored the lone goal for the Caps in their loss, his fifth straight game with a point. He has 14 assists in the Caps' seven-game win streak over the Wild, the most by any skater in a seven-game span against a single opponent since Sidney Crosby tallied 14 assists against Buffalo from January 2014 to February 2016.
- Mikael Granlund scored the game-winner for Minnesota on Sunday, his fourth goal in three games and tenth of the season. Granlund has six third-period goals this season, tied for second-most in the NHL; only Boston's David Pastrnak has more this season.
- Eric Staal has lit the lamp in three of his last four games against the Caps and has 74 career points (30g, 44a) against Washington. That's the most goals and points by any active skater against the Capitals.
- Caps try to close out series at Carolina
- Stars look to oust Predators in Game 6
- Bruins, Leafs ready for another Game 7
- Healthy Vlasic helps Sharks reach Game 7
- Capitals' Oshie likely out for playoffs
Put away those suitcases. Forget those late-night flights across western Canada. And shelve those late-morning breakfasts at hotel restaurants.
The Minnesota Wild are back home, and not a minute too soon after finishing a successful 5-2-0 road trip that lasted two weeks. Tuesday night's visit from the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals is their first game at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. since October 27. It also starts a stretch of six home games in seven contests.
"We showed a lot this trip and we're looking forward to being home for a little bit," defenseman Nick Seeler said Sunday after a 3-2 win in St. Louis.
How long was Minnesota's journey? It started before Halloween and ended 15 days after they left. It stopped twice in St. Louis for wins over the struggling Blues, including the finale, which saw the Wild (11-4-2) overcome a sluggish start and ride the great work of goalie Devan Dubnyk to two more points.
Dubnyk came up with 29 saves, including a highlight video stop in the last minute on Alexander Steen's wrist shot that seemed ticketed for the upper right corner and a 3-3 tie. He helped bring Minnesota within two points of Nashville for first place in the Central Division and for the NHL's best record.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau isn't discounting this trip's potential impact on the season's remaining 65 games.
"It's still November, but the farther you can get above .500, because everybody goes through something whether it's injuries, whether it's a downward part of the schedule that makes it tough for you, it happens," Boudreau said.
"To get that little cushion is really important. It's something we never had last year because we started out very mediocre, so we grinded and grinded. And the year before, we had a good cushion when we had a bad month of March and it worked out for us. That's what you want to do."
One of Boudreau's old teams hasn't been able to do that just yet. Washington (7-6-3) has played at times as though it's still celebrating June's Stanley Cup Finals win in Las Vegas, its first in franchise history. The Capitals are sixth in the Metropolitan Division after a brutal 4-1 loss Sunday to visiting Arizona.
Washington's penalty killing is killing it. After allowing the Coyotes two man-advantage markers, the Capitals are 29th in the league on the PK. Goalie Braden Holtby has logged an uncharacteristic .901 save percentage and 3.24 goals-against average through 13 games, numbers that would be the worst of his career if they hold up.
"Sometimes, you just try a little bit too hard," Holtby said of the PK. "We're just struggling with that. The biggest thing is not get frustrated, expect more out of ourselves."
The usual suspects are holding up their end of the bargain offensively under first-year coach Todd Reirden. Alex Ovechkin is on a 60-goal pace and Evgeny Kuznetsov would finish with more than 100 points if he keeps scoring at his present clip.
Updated November 13, 2018