Capitals lose again in regulation, fall to Wild 2-4
The Washington Capitals came back home after a physically taxing win just 24 hours earlier in Long Island. The Caps were game but could not get the bounces and were eventually outmuscled by a fresher Minnesota team for the win. The Wild were also the beneficiary of several bounces that went their way during the game at both ends.
The game began with both teams not producing much offense at all. While the Capitals held a wide shot advantage (13-3), nothing from either team looked like a high-danger chance for the first 15 minutes of play. The first goal came from Martin Fehervary at 18:57 on a give-and-go play begun by Trevor van Riemsdyk. A cross-ice pass just above the blue line released Fehervary to go to the net after he sent a pass to Alex Ovechkin. The captain then quickly fed Fehervary who made it to the slot area alone to pounce on the wide-open net for the goal.
Minnesota only needed 50 seconds into the next period to tie the game. Jared Spurgeon’s point shot made it all the way through to Charlie Lindgren, who was heavily screened. The shot hit his blocker glove and tumbled into the net. Washington retook the lead at 5:05 on a goal by Dylan Strome. Ovechkin began the play after gaining the zone. He dropped the puck back to Fehervary who found Strome charging to the net and dispatched a pass to him. Strome managed to reach out with his stick just enough for a deflection that eluded goalie Filip Gustavsson. Minnesota still had not mounted much of an attack at this point in the game but began to turn the tide not long after, eventually outshooting the Capitals 14-9 in the period.
The physicality from the previous night’s game finally began to show on the Capitals as the second period wore on as Minnesota became emboldened with a more physical net front presence. Jonas Brodin scored at 13:12 as yet again Lindgren could not properly line up for the shot due to a screen. Five minutes later, Spurgeon scored once again from long range. As with the two previous goals, Lindgren appeared to have completely lost sight of the puck due to being screened by several bodies in front.
Now forced to play from behind in the game’s final period, the Capitals pushed their attack once more. Their best chance came with just under four minutes remaining as they threatened with a close-in chance from TJ Oshie, but the puck would only dance on top of the line and was eventually kicked out by Gustavsson. Joel Eriksson Ek put the game away with an empty net goal at 19:06.
NOTES—Marcus Johansson played in his 800th career NHL game. Anthony Mantha was once again a healthy scratch for the third time in a week. Nicolas Aube-Kubel drew in and began the game on the top line with Strome and Ovechkin. The loss was Washington’s third in regulation in their last four matches. The Capitals’ next game is scheduled for Thursday the 19th in Tempe, AZ at the new Mullett Arena with a start time slated for 9 PM ET.