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game recap

Ovechkin scores twice, Capitals hang on to defeat Wild

Washington maintains three-point lead for first in Metropolitan

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Kuznetsov feeds Ovechkin for goal

WSH@MIN: Ovechkin one-times Kuznetsov's pass

Alex Ovechkin one-times a feed from Evgeny Kuznetsov into the net, increasing the Capitals' lead to 3-1 with his second goal of the game

  • 00:42 •

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Alex Ovechkin scored two of three goals for the Washington Capitals in a span of 3:38 of the first period in a 4-3 win against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday.

Evgeny Kuznetsov had two assists for the Capitals (40-19-6), who won on the road for the first time in five games and lead the Philadelphia Flyers by three points for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

"I think both teams was really hungry for those points, and I think they need it as much as we need those points," Kuznetsov said. "I think we played a great job. They dump a lot of pucks, and I think we got close support, all five guys coming back. That's what gave us success today."

 

[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Wild highlights]

 

Braden Holtby made 37 saves for Washington, including 16 on 17 shots in the third period.

"It was a hard one. [Minnesota] worked hard. Really hard," Holtby said. "[Coach Dean Evason's] got them buzzing over there, so good challenge. It was a good, hard-fought game. We'll take two points, but it wasn't easy."

Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist for the Wild (32-26-7), who lost for the first time in four games and trail the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes by one point for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Alex Stalock, in his fourth straight start, made 26 saves.

"It felt like a playoff game," Fiala said. "We were fighting from the start to the end. It didn't go our way."

Ryan Donato got to the puck behind the net after he missed a shot on a breakaway and banked it in off Holtby's left skate to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead at 3:01 of the first period.

Ovechkin tied the game 1-1 with a one-timer from above the left face-off circle on a 5-on-3 power play at 7:21.

Video: WSH@MIN: Ovechkin nets one-timer on two-man advantage

Richard Panik gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead at 10:28.

Ovechkin finished an odd-man rush for his second goal of the game 31 seconds later to give Washington a 3-1 lead at 10:59.

Fiala extended his goal streak to four games with a one-timer on the power play at 13:13 to make it 3-2. He has nine points (four goals, five assists) during the streak.

Tom Wilson scored 40 seconds into the third period with a top-shelf shot to make it 4-2.

Video: WSH@MIN: Wilson scores off feed from Ovechkin

Zach Parise scored off a pass from Fiala on the power play at 12:53 to get the Wild within 4-3, but Holtby made the save on Minnesota's final four shots.

"The effort was there," Parise said. "We competed hard, and we've been going that direction for the last little while, and that works for us. Didn't get the outcome that we wanted to, but I feel like if we play like that more often than not, we're going to find ourselves in a lot of games and a chance to win a lot of games. Just couldn't pull it off tonight."

 

They said it

"I just liked the physicality, I liked the compete, I liked our guys sticking together in scrums. I liked some of that stuff about our game in terms of building our group. There's still areas to improve on, but like I said, the important thing for me is even-strength goals-against (one in the game); it's got to stay at that level for us to have a chance. Blocked shots, and I thought [goalie Braden Holtby] was really solid tonight." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden

"Just because we worked hard and we lost, we can't get down. … The next game against [the Nashville Predators on Tuesday] is a huge game. If we play like that, most nights we're going to be successful. It's tough to lose this where we know we could've jumped in there and climbed up a little bit quicker. But we still have the belief of getting in there." -- Wild forward Marcus Foligno

 

Need to know

Ovechkin has 45 goals, tied with Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the NHL behind Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak's 47. ... Forward Ilya Kovalchuk had an assist on Ovechkin's second goal for his first point with the Capitals since being acquired in a trade from the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 24. ... Wilson has four goals in the past six games. ... Parise has two goals and three assists during a three-game point streak.

 

What's next

Capitals: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS)

Wild: Host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-WI, FS-N+, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

Video: Ovechkin scores twice, Capitals edge Wild

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