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game preview

Wild at Capitals preview

Minnesota seeks fifth straight win; Holtby looks to rebound for Washington

by Brian McNally / NHL.com Correspondent

WILD (9-7-2) at CAPITALS (10-9-1)

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSWA, FS-N, NHL.TV

 

The Game 

The Minnesota Wild look to win their fifth straight game when they visit the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Saturday.  

The Wild have outscored opponents 13-4 during the past four games, including three shutouts, and have not allowed a power-play goal in six games (17-for-17).

Braden Holtby will start for Washington, which has lost two in a row and three of its past five. Holtby allowed six goals in a 6-3 loss at the Nashville Predators on Tuesday and was pulled after the second period. He had won his six previous starts. Backup Philipp Grubaeur started Thursday and allowed six goals in a 6-2 loss at the Colorado Avalanche.

 

Players to watch

Wild forward Jason Zucker has eight goals during a five-game goal streak. He is one shy of tying Brian Rolston's team record with goals in six consecutive games (Jan. 13-Feb. 5, 2008). 

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin is tied with John Tavares of the New York Islanders for second in the NHL with 13 goals, but hasn't scored in his past four games. He needs two goals to tie Mike Bossy for 21st on the all-time list.

 

They said it 

"Everybody thinks it's all [Alex] Ovechkin. But if you cover him, then you got [T.J.] Oshie and [Nicklas] Backstrom, [Evgeny] Kuznetsov and [John] Carlson to worry about. It's a very difficult lineup to handle. The best thing is to not take any penalties." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau on containing Washington's power play

"I thought we were going [well] for, probably, six or seven of our last eight games and then the last couple we laid an egg…We haven't been able to sustain it. -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz  

 

Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Jason Zucker 

Tyler Ennis -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Daniel Winnik -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Luke Kunin

Marcus Foligno -- Matt Cullen -- Chris Stewart

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba

Gustav Olofsson - Kyle Quincey

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Mike Reilly

Injured: Charlie Coyle (fractured right fibula), Zach Parise (back)

 


Capitals projected lineup

Chandler Stephenson -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Jakub Vrana -- Lars Eller -- Tom Wilson

Brett Connolly -- Jay Beagle -- Alex Chiasson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- John Carlson

Taylor Chorney -- Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Aaron Ness, Nathan Walker

Injured: Andre Burakovsky (fractured left thumb), Christian Djoos (upper body)

 
Status report

Djoos was injured Tuesday and is day to day, coach Barry Trotz said. … Vrana returns after being a healthy scratch for the first time this season on Thursday. … The Wild did not hold a morning skate.

 

Stat pack

Staal has 73 points (29 goals, 44 assists) in 74 games against Washington, his most against any opponent. Dubnyk is 2-4-1 in seven games against the Capitals with a 3.61 goals-against average and an .879 save percentage. ... …Orpik is fifth in the League in blocked shots (50). Carlson is tied for third among defensemen in assists (14) and ranks seventh in points (16). Washington has won five straight games against Minnesota. 

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