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game recap

Ovechkin, Capitals withstand Wild

NHL-leading 34th goal part of forward's four-point game

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Alex Ovechkin had four points, including his NHL-leading 34th goal, for the Washington Capitals in a 5-2 win at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday.

 

[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Wild highlights]

 

Ovechkin, who reached 1,100 NHL points, has 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists) in 14 games against Minnesota, including 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in eight games as a visitor.

Video: WSH@MIN: Ovechkin picks up 1,100th point with assist

"Ice is good here," Ovechkin said. "Atmosphere is good, and I have good luck here too."

Philipp Grubauer made 32 saves, and Tom Wilson scored twice for the Capitals (33-17-7), who won following two overtime losses. Washington holds a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division with two games in hand.

"I thought we did a real good job. We knew about their starts and I thought we managed the first period really well," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "We stayed on task and knew what we wanted to do. We had a good game plan against them and I thought there weren't any passengers tonight. We needed a big save, we got it. We needed a big kill, we got it. So the group did a really good job."

Nino Niederreiter and Eric Staal scored for the Wild (31-20-6), who had their longest home point streak end at 13 games (10-1-3). Minnesota is one point ahead of the Anaheim Ducks for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Wild host the Ducks on Saturday.

Video: WSH@MIN: Staal gets lucky bounce for late PPG

"Well we're not going to win every single game here," said Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk, who made 22 saves. "There's going to be games like that. … I don't think we expected to win the rest of the games at home. We played a pretty good game, that's all that matters. And we'll play a better game next time and get back at it."

Wilson gave Washington a 1-0 lead 59 seconds into the second period with a shot from the left circle that deflected off the stick of Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon. Ovechkin scored his 592nd NHL goal at 5:51 to make it 2-0.

Burakovsky scored for the second straight game, taking a wrist shot through traffic for a 3-0 lead at 2:29 of the third period. Niederreiter scored 1:56 later with a rebound to make it 3-1.

Backstrom got to a loose puck at 15:06 to put Washington ahead 4-1. Staal extended his point streak to five games (four goals, two assists) with a power-play goal at 16:48 to make it 4-2, and Wilson scored into an empty net at 17:46 for a 5-2 final.

"We're learning to play on the road, which is really good," Trotz said. "We're going to have to do that. And we're good at home. We've got to make sure we manage things correctly, and when we do it's an easier game for us too."

 

Goal of the game

Wilson's goal 59 seconds into the second period.

Video: WSH@MIN: Wilson picks the corner with tricky wrister

 

Save of the game

Grubauer's save on Zach Parise at 6:03 of the third period.

Video: WSH@MIN: Grubauer stands his ground on Parise

 

Highlight of the game

Burakovsky's goal at 2:29 of the third period.

Video: WSH@MIN: Burakovsky goes end-to-end for sweet goal

 

They said it

"Every game I've seen [Ovechkin] put on clinics all the time. Maybe [tonight's] another one. I've had a front row seat for the last four years, a bunch of milestones, a bunch of great games. Like I said, [Backstrom] and him, the superstars of this team, they carry the team every night, and it's great to see all four lines chipping in the last couple [of games] and it's good to have that support." -- Capitals forward Tom Wilson

"When you're down in the second period, you want to stay the course. You're only down two. It's not like you want to throw everything but the kitchen sink at them in the second period. We thought we were playing a fairly decent game, and if we had gotten one, we're right back in the game. In the third period, when you're down, there's not much time left, you've got to throw everything at them." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

 

Need to know

Ovechkin is the 61st player to reach 1,100 NHL points. He did so in 978 games. ... Wilson has scored an NHL career-high nine goals. He scored seven each of the previous two seasons. … Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov had an eight-game point streak end (11 points; two goals, nine assists). … Staal has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in the past 12 games. … Wild forward Mikael Granlund has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in the past 15 games.

 

What's next

Capitals: At the Chicago Blackhawks on (8:30 p.m. ET; WGN, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)

Wild: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday (2 p.m. ET; FS-N, PRIME, NHL.TV)

Video: Ovechkin earns 1,100th point in 5-2 win against Wild

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