Caps Begin Four-Game Road Trip with 5-2 Win Over Wild in Tom Wilson’s Return

michael banner 2The Washington Capitals began their four-game road trip on the right note with a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Tom Wilson scored and was penalized on the same play in his return to action. Andre Burakovsky, T.J. Oshie, and Dmitry Orlov (twice) also lit the lamp. 

At 2:56, Matt Dumba was called for interference sort’ve poking Chandler Stephenson with his stick. The Caps get three shots on the power play but couldn’t cash in as some of their passes weren’t crisp, leading to some clears by the Wild penalty kill. At 6:33, the Caps got on the board with a blast near the left face-off dot from Dmitry Orlov for his first goal of the season. Lars Eller did a good job playing the puck around the net and setting up Orlov. Andre Burakovsky was also credit with the assist.

The Caps went up 2-0 at 19:32 as Orlov came down the ice and flung it to Tom Wilson who got the puck past Devan Dubnyk just before he crashed into him. Wilson, who returned to action after getting his suspension reduced to 14 games this morning thanks to a neutral arbitrator, had a short lived celebration. In a move that can only happen to Tom Wilson, the ref called goaltender interference although the goal counted. Judging by the replay, it looked like Ryan Suter pushed him into Dubnyk. He got two minutes in the sin bin which carried over to the second period.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, in addition to Orlov, was credited with the assist which marked the 200th helper of his career. The Caps took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission outshooting the Wild 12-6.

In the beginning of the second, the Wild looked like they cashed in on a power play opportunity but Eric Staal kicked the puck in and the goal was immediately waved off by the officials. The Caps struck again at 3:13. As Connolly wrestled for the puck on the boards behind the goal, he found Eller in front of the net. Eller whiffed it to Andre Burakovsky and he backhanded it in to make it 3-0. It was Burkie’s second goal of the season.

The Wild got a goal back thanks to Mikko Koivu. It was certainly a play that Caps goaltender Pheonix Copley wishes he made.

Right at the face-off following the goal, Wilson let the NHL know he was back. He and Nick Foligno dropped the gloves.

The second period ended with the Caps leading 3-1. The Caps had the edge in shots for the second straight period 15-8.

The Caps added to their lead at 7:23. Wilson caused some distraction on a 3-on-2 rush and Alex Ovechkin quickly fed Orlov for his second goal of the game. 4-1.

At 9:48, T.J. Oshie made it 5-1 with his ninth goal of the season with some great passing from Jakub Vrana, to Nicklas Backstrom, to Oshie.

Matt Dumba made it 5-2 when he struck on the power play after a delay of game penalty from Madison Bowey. At one point three Caps players were in the penalty box together with Orlov called for holding and John Carlson for roughing.

The Caps would hold off and defeat the Wild by a final of 5-2. Shots in the third were 14-8 Wild but overall the Caps led in shots 33-28. The PK staved off five of six Wild power plays. The Caps also had the edge in face-offs 51% to 49%. Pheonix Copley got the win, stopping 26-of-28 shots and only allowing one goal on even strength and the other when the Wild were on the power play, for a save percentage of .929. Next up for the Caps is a game Wednesday night in Winnipeg.

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