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Preview: Wild at Capitals

Washington tries to end losing streak at four; Minnesota continues road trip

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

WILD (43-18-6) at CAPITALS (44-17-7)



Wild team scope

The Minnesota Wild visit the Washington Capitals on the fourth game of a five-game road trip; they've lost two of the first three, and their lead over the second-place Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division and the Western Conference is down to one point. Minnesota is second in the NHL in road wins; the Wild are 20-9-5 away from home and have points in 18 of their past 22 road games. "They've lost four in a row," coach Bruce Boudreau said of the Capitals. "I don't think they're not going to be ready. They're going to be champing at the bit to get on the ice again is my belief and we're the ones who have to be ready." Goalie Devan Dubnyk will start; he was pulled after allowing two goals on two shots in 4:38 in a 4-2 loss at the Blackhawks on Sunday. Dubnyk is tied for first in the NHL in save percentage (.931) and is second in the NHL with a 2.07 goals-against average. The Wild recalled Tyler Graovac from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. Graovac is expected to play on the fourth line, centering Chris Stewart and Ryan White.


Capitals team scope

Braden Holtby will be in goal for the Capitals, who will try to end a four-game losing streak. They haven't lost five straight since going 0-4-1 from Oct. 26-Nov. 4, 2014. Washington went 0-3-0 on its three-game California road trip, and captain Alex Ovechkin is in the midst of a career-high 10-game goal drought. The Pittsburgh Penguins tied the Capitals for first in the NHL with 95 points on Monday by earning a point in a 4-3 shootout loss at the Calgary Flames. "Last year, we never were uncomfortable because we built such a lead," coach Barry Trotz said. "I was uncomfortable with our game because I didn't think we were playing well and then we would kick it up and win a game or find a way or Braden would stand on his head for a game." Ovechkin isn't worried despite the lack of offense. "Just have to shoot the puck more," he said. "I think that's the key to success. Sometimes it just doesn't go in because [it] just kind of happens. I don't get frustrated or something. Right now we have more thoughts about how we have to win a game and bounce back and be in first [place]."


Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise -- Erik Haula -- Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart -- Tyler Graovac -- Ryan White

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba

Marco Scandella -- Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Jordan Schroeder

Injured: Martin Hanzal (illness), Christian Folin (upper body), Gustav Olofsson (upper body)

Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Jakub Vrana

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Nate Schmidt

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Taylor Chorney

Injured: Andre Burakovsky (hand)

Suspended: Kevin Shattenkirk

Status report

Hanzal (flu) did not make the trip to Washington. ... Burakovsky participated in the morning skate, but is still day to day and is projected to return next week. Shattenkirk will sit out the second of a two-game suspension assessed for charging Kevin Gravel of the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

Who's hot

Granlund has two goals in his past two games. Niederreiter has two assists in his past two games. Staal has three goals in his past two games. ... Backstrom has 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists) in his past 19 games. Williams and Johansson each have two points in their past two games.


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