Coming off their biggest comeback victory of the season, the Washington Capitals will look to continue their momentum when they host the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.
Washington trailed the New York Islanders 3-0 through 30 minutes on Monday, seemingly dooming the Capitals to their first regulation three-game losing streak of the season. However, the Capitals rebounded for four unanswered goals and a 4-3 overtime victory, with Dmitry Orlov scoring the game-winner with 33 seconds remaining in the extra frame.
The Capitals scored all four goals at even strength, giving the team 59 goals in five-on-five play over their last 18 games. After struggling at five-on-five situations earlier in the season, head coach Peter Laviolette attributed the improvement to the Capitals simply having more success at converting shots.
“If you’re getting the looks and your shooting percentage is around five percent, you’re not going to score many goals,” Laviolette said. “When that shooting percentage is at the league average or if you can push above the league average, you’re going to see an increase in five-on-five goals.”
Monday’s game reflected Washington’s tendency for slow starts and big finishes. Another comeback could be more difficult for the Capitals on Tuesday, as the defensively stout Wild have been prone to striking first — including in their most recent outing, a 2-1 home win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
The Wild carried a 2-0 lead going into the third period and held on for the win, despite allowing a Lawson Crouse goal and being outshot 12-6 in the third period.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 of 28 Coyotes shots. Despite that strong performance, Filip Gustavsson will probably start on Tuesday if the Wild continue their usual pattern of alternating between the two goaltenders.
Kirill Kaprizov has 99 career NHL goals and will be looking to hit the 100 mark against Washington. It has been another excellent season for Kaprizov, who leads the Wild in goals (25), assists (27) and points (52).
While Kaprizov is the Wild’s top star of the present, the team also locked up a player they view as a star of the future. The Wild announced Monday that second-year forward Matt Boldy had signed a seven-year, $49 million contract extension.
“(Boldy) fits into what we’re trying to do here in Minnesota as an organization,” Wild head coach Dean Evason said. “He fits the mold of what we want and who we want to be, and we look forward to him being a leader on our hockey team for a long time.”
Tuesday’s game is the first of a four-game road trip for the Wild. The Capitals are 13-7-3 on home ice this season, tied for the sixth-most home wins in the NHL.
Since the Capitals are playing on consecutive nights, Charlie Lindgren will likely start against Minnesota, as Darcy Kuemper got the nod against the Islanders. Kuemper’s return from injury has again relegated Lindgren to backup duty, but Lindgren has a solid 2.60 goals-against average and .912 save percentage over 19 games this season.
Nic Dowd is questionable for Tuesday’s matchup after suffering a lower-body injury against the Islanders.
–Field Level Media