Washington Capitals (39-20-5) vs Minnesota Wild (31-25-7)
|Predicted Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV% / # SO|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||23-13-5||3.12 / .897 / 0|
|Minnesota Wild||Alex Stalock||18-9-4||2.60 / .910 / 4|
The Washington Capitals completed their home-and-home series on Thursday night against the Jets, and now the good guys are off to Minnesota to take on the Wild to kick off the month of March. The Capitals have won eight of their last nine meetings against Minnesota, but dropped their most recent game in a 2-1 loss on home ice back on March 22nd of 2019 (mcubed).
The Washington Capitals were shutout for the first time on the road this season, 2-0, by the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, with Ilya Samsonov getting the start for just the 2nd time in seven games. The Capitals have now lost four straight on the road for the first time, and were shutout for just the second time, this season. Washington played much of the first period in their own zone, and at the 6:33 mark, Dmitry Kulikov scored his 2nd goal of the season to give Winnipeg an early lead. The Capitals were called for two overlapping penalties in the first period and were successful in killing off 1:45 of 5-on-3 play, and 15 seconds of a standard Jets power play. The successful kill gave Washington a decent morale boost that carried them throughout the rest of the period, as they racked up the majority of high-danger scoring chances. The Capitals certainly had the better opportunities throughout the second period, but it was Ilya Samsonov that kept Washington in this one. Evgeny Kuznetsov was called for cross-checking midway through the second, but again the Caps were able to kill off the penalty. Finally, the Capitals received their first power play of the evening as Neal Pionk went off for hooking at the 15:07 mark of the period. Despite being unable to convert on the first man-advantage, Washington went right back on the power play as Bitetto was also called for hooking. The Capitals did not score despite playing four minutes of 5-on-4 play, and trailed by one heading into the third period. Through two periods, the Caps in fact led in faceoff wins, 29 to 19, which is something we haven’t been able to report on much this season. The third period started with a third power play opportunity for the Caps as Dylan DeMelo went off for holding, but Washington would go 0-for-3 on the man advantage on the night. Kyle Connor’s 32nd goal of the season sealed the shutout win over Washington with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game. The Capitals emptied their net in attempts to get on the board and avoid being shutout, but Mark Scheifele would make it 3-0 with just over 90 seconds remaining. Ilya Samsonov ended the night with 28 saves on 30 shots to drop his fourth straight start. Braden Holtby will get the start for Washington against the Wild.
The Minnesota Wild were last in action on Friday night, where they defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-0. The shutout came on the second half of a back-to-back, after the Wild took down the Red Wings in a dominant 7-1 win the night before. Despite sitting in 6th in the Central Division, the Wild are on a three-game win streak, and have five wins in their last six games. Within 40 seconds of each other, both Joel Eriksson Ek and Jared Spurgeon scored to give the Wild an early 2-0 lead over the Blue Jackets. Eriksson Ek’s 8th goal of the season was his first in eight games, and Spurgeon’s 11th came just four games after the defenseman scored a hat-trick against the Edmonton Oilers. Columbus received the first power play of the evening, as Alex Galchenyuk was called for high-sticking. Minnesota’s 4th-worst-penalty-kill-in-the-league was able to keep Columbus off the board, and thus, led by two heading into the second. About halfway through regulation, Ryan Hartman added to Minnesota’s lead with his 9th goal of the season. Zach Parise made it 4-0 less than two minutes later, and Columbus, staring down a potential shutout, elected to pull Joonas Korpisalo in favor of playing Matiss Kivlenieks for the remainder of the match. Korpisalo allowed four goals on 15 shots, but has six wins in his last nine starts. Kivlenieks has played just five games this season with a 1-1-2 record, a save percentage of .897, and a GAA of 3.04. Kevin Fiala, with Andrew Peeke in the penalty box for interference, made it 5-0 for the Wild. Fiala’s 19th of the season came at the 12:20 mark of the third period of a game that had been controlled entirely by Minnesota. Both Fiala and Eric Staal are tied for most points on the team (45), with Fiala edging out Staal in assists (27), and Staal in goals (19). Defenseman Ryan Suter leads the team with 35 assists. The Minnesota Wild are no joke as of late; they have scored 7 or more goals four times this season, and put up a total of 12 goals for and allowed just one against in back-to-back games (DET, CBJ). Goaltender Alex Stalock stopped all 24 shots faced to earn his 17th win of the season, and 4th shutout. Stalock will start for the Wild versus the Capitals.
The Minnesota Wild are without the services of Luke Kunin (OUT, upper body), and Carson Soucy (DL, upper body).
Coverage of the game begins at 7:00pm with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 7:30pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 8:00pm.
Mcubed. (2020). NHL: Series records : Washington Capitals against Minnesota Wild. Retrieved from http://mcubed.net/nhl/wsh/min.shtml.
TheScore. (2020. Minnesota Wild News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/29.
TheScore. (2020). Washington Capitals News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/15.