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Rink Report: Wild Seeks 'Full 60' Against Capitals

Solid for most of last two games, Minnesota will need its best against the NHL's top team

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau has been, by and large, pleased with the efforts of his club over the past two games.

The only hiccups were a 10 minute stretch of the first period against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise on Friday, something the Wild was able to overcome in a 7-4 win. The other was the opening five minutes of Sunday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks, one where the Hawks scored a pair of goals and drove Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

Minnesota wasn't able to salvage points in that one, eventually falling 4-2 at the United Center.

The other 105 minutes of those two games have been largely played in the Wild's offensive zone.

Still, Boudreau said if Minnesota doesn't put together a full 60 minute effort together against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, it's likely to meet a similar fate it did in Chicago.

Video: Bruce Boudreau practice in Washington

"If we don't get 60 minutes out of them, we're not going to win," Boudreau said. "We're playing the best team in the League and at probably the maddest point they've been in two years, so we better be ready."

Minnesota practiced on Monday at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex across the Potomac River from the Lincoln Memorial in preparation of a game the Wild knows will be high tempo. 

The Capitals have lost four-straight games for the first time in more than two years, and despite their recent struggles, still have the highest point total in the NHL.

Washington's 3.19 goals per game is third best in the League, just behind the Wild. But it's 2.16 goals against, behind goaltender Braden Holtby, makes the Caps the stingiest team.

Video: Wild Practice in Washington D.C.

"You can't give them much, if anything at all," said Wild forward Charlie Coyle. "[We need to do] what makes us successful; stick to our structure, play fast, playing physical. We should get that right from the start and carry through and if we do, we'll be happy with the result."

After a three-game trip to the West Coast yielded no points for Washington, the Caps will play five of their next six games on home ice, beginning with Tuesday's tilt. The Capitals' 27 home wins are tied for most in the NHL.

"You gotta play a full 60 minutes in this League. That's what we need to do to be successful, it doesn't matter who you're playing," said Wild forward Charlie Coyle. "We want to get to our game as soon as possible, just jump right in and get to our game."

Familiar territory

Boudreau has been back to Washington several times since being dismissed by the Capitals in the middle of the 2011-12 season. 

But coming back to the nation's capital always brings back special memories for Boudreau, especially at the Iceplex, which was like a second home for him when he lived and coached here.

"Tons of [memories]. This was, at the time, the greatest place in the world for me," Boudreau said. "It was the first chance I got to coach in the NHL and the people, [former Caps GM George McPhee] treated me incredible. I'll never forget it."

Scouting the Capitals

Washington will enter Tuesday's game having lost four-straight games for the first time since November of 2014. Following a 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, players held a closed door meeting to discuss their recent struggles. Leading goal scorer Alex Ovechkin hasn't lit the lamp in 10 games, the longest stretch without a goal in his NHL career. Goaltender Braden Holtby, one of the top netminders in the League, is winless over his past three outings, having allowed 12 goals during that span. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, acquired on Feb. 27 in a trade with the St. Louis Blues, will not play as he serves a two-game suspension.

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