Capitals Game Day
Capitals vs. Wild: Lines, Players To Watch, Tale of the Tape
The Washington Capitals return home after one of their best — and to start, worst — games of the season as they try to go 2-for-2 in a back-to-back and play host to the Minnesota Wild. Lines, who to watch, key stats and everything else to know before puck drop.
WASHINGTON — After one of their best — and to start, worst games — of the season, the Washington Capitals are right back in action as the Minnesota Wild come to visit for the second half of a back-to-back before a road trip.
Here's everything to know ahead of puck drop.
Washington Capitals vs. Minnesota Wild: Tale of the Tape
The Capitals (24-16-6) looked like a team out of answers to start action against New York, but Alex Ovechkin helped them find the spark they needed and got them back to playing their style for a big 4-3 comeback win in New York on Monday. Washington's win also saw Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson get more acclimated and show some great chemistry together, especially with Sonny Milano on their other wing. While head coach Peter Laviolette's line combinations overall appeared to finally work out after a few games of testing, the lineup will change again with Nic Dowd having suffered a lower-body injury and not returning in the opening minutes of action on the Island. Looking at key stats, the team is still needing to find a spark on the power play, which is now 0-for-10 over the last five games, but the penalty has risen back up into the top 10 (80.8 percent).
Minnesota (24-14-4), meanwhile, has been excellent this season and sits comfortably in third in the Central Division with wins in back-to-back games. Filip Gustavsson has been a pleasant surprise for the club as one of the hardest netminders to beat of late, as he has outshone Marc-Andre Fleury so far this season. The Wild don't give up all too much and are tied with the Capitals for the ninth-least goals against per game (2.76), while their PK is in the middle of the pack (79.4). Their power play is also dangerous (23.1 percent, 13th best), and their young, talented arsenal can do a lot of damage with Minnesota averaging 3.12 goals per game.
Washington Capitals vs. Minnesota Wild: Projected Lines
Lars Eller was a healthy scratch back on Tuesday while Dylan Strome drew back in, and he will return vs. the Wild with Dowd expected to be out for a bit after his injury on Monday. Still, given the success fo the team last night and chemistry on a couple of combinations, head coach Peter Laviolette isn't changing all of the lines, though he said there will be a couple tweaks.
Here are what the lines looked like on Monday:
Alex Ovechkin-Dylan Strome-Conor Sheary
Anthony Mantha-Evgeny Kuznetsov-T.J. Oshie
Sonny Milano-Nicklas Backstrom-Tom Wilson
Marcus Johansson-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin-Martin Fehervary
Charlie Lindgren will get the second half of the back-to-back and start against the Wild, while Darcy Kuemper will get the night off following a great performance (and a slight injury scare) on Long Island.
Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders: Players To Watch
Alex Ovechkin has a goal and assist in back-to-back games, and Garnet Hathaway has six goals in his last nine games. T.J. Oshie is another name to watch, as he has goals in two fo his last three and five goals in his last six outings overall. Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom also appear to be getting back to form, and Wilson is coming off a one-goal, seven-shot and seven-hit performance against the Islanders while Backstrom has two assists in four games since returning. Also look out for Sonny Milano, who had an assist and was one of the best players in Monday's win. Erik Gustafsson also continues to rack up points on the blue line, along with Nick Jensen.
Taking a walk on the Wild side, Kirill Kaprizov is the top player to keep an eye on. He has points in three straight and in eight of his last 10 overall, and also has 16 points in his last 13 games while leading the team with 52 points in 42 outings so far. Mats Zuccarello is also on a three-game point streak and has found the scoresheet in four of his last five games, and Sam Steel also has points in three straight and in six of his last seven. Joel Eriksson-Ek has also found the scoresheet in two of his last three games, and Frederick Gaudreau is also dangerous with points in back-to-back games. Also keep an eye on the likes of Matt Boldy, Jared Spurgeon and Calen Addison.
How To Tune In
Local fans can catch the action live on NBC Sports Washington Plus and tune in at WJFK 106.7 The Fan and Caps Radio 24/7. Minnesota fans can watch on Bally Sports North and listen at KFAM 100.3 FM.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.