This win is the Capitals’ 45th win of the season, which matches their number of wins in the entirety of last season. The Capitals still have yet to lose two consecutive games in regulation. This season may have its bumps but it is still amazing.
First Period: Another Slow Start
The game started slow for both teams but the Wild would out-shoot the Capitals, 9-2, in the first 10:04. The Capitals would not get another shot on goal until 15:05 courtesy of Evgeny Kuznetsov. Penalty trouble was a theme in this period as the Caps took three penalties. The penalty kill was successful for the first two penalties but on the third, Minnesota’s only power play shot-on-goal got through Braden Holtby. It is now seven consecutive games that the Capitals have allowed the first goal.
GOALS: Mikko Koivo scored his 13th of the season (assisted by Ryan Suter)
PENALTIES: Brooks Orpik (holding); Matt Niskanen (roughing); Tom Wilson (tripping)
SCORE: Caps trail 1-0.
Second Period: Career High for Orpik
49 seconds into the second, defenseman Brooks Orpik scored his career-high third goal of season. The Caps looked to not repeat the first period. But Nino Niederreiter got the Wild their lead back with a breakaway goal 5:05 into the second. Defenseman Taylor Chorney could not get to Niederreiter to take away the puck. The Capitals were trapped in their own zone for a lengthy amount of time during this period. Minnesota’s goaltender Darcy Kuemper made an amazing save on Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin late in the second. The Caps outshot the Wild 13-10 in the period but the Wild had a 22-16 overall lead.
GOALS: Brooks Orpik scored his third of the season (assisted by Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin); Nino Niederreiter scored his 12th of the season (assisted by Ryan Suter and Jason Pominville)
SCORE: Caps trail 2-1.
Third Period: The “O” Factor.
The Capitals came out shooting while the Wild got away with some penalties. The Burakovsky-Kuznetsov-Williams line had a fantastic shift in the Wild zone. Goaltender Kuemper denied Burakovsky and then took a delay of game penalty for intentionally knocking the net off its moorings. Alex Ovechkin did what he does best,
score power play goals. Ovechkin is the first player to reach 40 goals this season and he is the tenth player to have eight 40-goal seasons. With about five minutes left in the game, Dmitry Orlov scored the eventual game-winning goal. Holtby secured the win by not letting the Wild tie with the extra attacker.
GOALS: Alex Ovechkin scored his 40th of the season (assisted by Matt Niskanen and Nicklas Backstrom); Dmitry Orlov scored his seventh of the season (assisted by Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov)
PENALTIES: Darcy Kuemper (delay of game)
SCORE: Caps win 3-2.
Marcus Johansson is a new dad (baby girl) and so is newly acquired defenseman Mike Weber (baby boy). There was no John Carlson (lower body injury) or Michael Latta (flu) in the lineup. Minnesota’s Darcy Kuemper made his first start against the Capitals.
Practice: 11:30am on Saturday at Ketter Capitals Iceplex.
Game: 12:30pm against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.
Written by: Renee Garces
Photos by: Brittney Marcum