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Postgame Hat Trick: Capitals 4, Wild 3

Three-game winning streak comes to an end Sunday night in St. Paul

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-3 loss against the Washington Capitals at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Sunday night:

1. The Wild's three-game winning streak came to an end.

Early on, it looked like Minnesota's suddenly high-powered offensive attack would sustain for a fourth consecutive game. Ryan Donato got Minnesota on the board early in the game and the Wild scored twice in the first period.

But it wouldn't strike again until late in the third period.

The Capitals' power play has been very average this season (entered the game 16th in the League), but it still has a ton of weapons. It remains that the best course of action is to stay out of the box against this team.

Well, after the Wild got its lead, it never really got a chance to build on it. 

Just 2 1/2 minutes later, Greg Pateryn was in the box for a trip. Less than a minute after that, Alex Stalock was tagged for a high stick. Suddenly, Washington had extended 5-on-3 time. 

Not surprisingly, the Capitals took advantage ... and even less surprising, was how they did it.

Just moments after Alex Ovechkin whistled a one-timer high and wide of the Wild net, he got a second chance from his perch at the top of the left circle. This time, he didn't miss, pushing a shot through a deflection in front of Stalock and into the net to tie the game at 1-1.

The penalties, and the goal, turned the whole momentum of the game.

Richard Panik gave the Caps the lead 3:07 after Ovechkin's goal and on the very next shift, Ovechkin capped an odd-man rush with yet another blistering one-timer.

Minnesota would get it to 3-2 later in the period, and it would remain that way headed to the third period before Tom Wilson took an Ovechkin feed and snapped a shot through Stalock to re-establish the two-goal advantage just 40 seconds into the final frame.

That ended up being large.

Zach Parise would score on the power play with 7:07 remaining in regulation, which made Wilson's goal the game-winner.


2. Kevin Fiala was doing Kevin Fiala things.

The Swiss winger stayed red-hot by scoring his 20th goal of the campaign in the first period, getting the Wild back on track after a tough 31 second stretch that saw the Capitals turn a tie game into a two-goal advantage. 

Fiala has now scored a goal in four consecutive games and has 11 goals in his past 14 games overall. He also assised on Parise's goal in the third period, giving him 21 points in those 14 games. 

Video: WSH@MIN: Fiala blasts one-timer for power-play goal

It's the second time in his career that Fiala has reached the 20-goal plateau and the points on Sundaywere his 48th and 49th of the season, which tied, then surpassed his previous career best. 

Fiala also became the third Swiss-born player to score at least 20 goals in a season multiple times (Nino Niederreiter, Timo Meier).

3. Ryan Donato is living proof of that if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Minnesota came out of the gates rolling on Sunday night, posting the first several shots on goal of the game. Three minutes in, Ryan Suter sprung Donato for a clean breakaway. He made a great move and had Caps goaltender Braden Holtby beat, only to see the puck roll right off his stick.

But Donato didn't let that unfortunate development hamper him.

Video: WSH@MIN: Donato scores from behind the net

The puck bounced off the end wall behind the net and right back to Donato, who turned around a whipped a wraparound through Holtby for an early 1-0 advantage. 

The goal was Donato's 14th of the season, which is tied for fourth on the club. He's another one that's been good of late as well; Donato has five points in his past four games and 10 points in his past 15 contests.

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