Takeaways: Same Story Plagues Capitals In Loss To Wild
The Washington Capitals’ rally led by Alex Ovechkin was too little, too late, as another bad start sunk them in a 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild. All the takeaways.
The Washington Capitals are well aware of the issues that have plagued them and thrown them out of playoff position down the stretch, but they just haven't been able to find the solution. That was the case yet again against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, as another poor start set the stage for a disappointing loss in a key game.
Alex Ovechkin tried to give his team life and Charlie Lindgren did what he could, but the ailing Capitals couldn't keep up with the Wild in a 5-3 loss.
Here are all the takeaways from the defeat:
Another Bad Start Sets Tone For Washington Capitals, Same Issues Persist
Once again, Washington found itself trailing early and on the wrong side of the scoreboard in the first 20. Just 50 seconds in, Matt Boldy scored on a rebound in front to make it 1-0, marking the fifth straight game that the Capitals have surrendered a goal within the first 5:18 minutes of play. Boldy would strike again minutes later to put Washington down 2-0 early on.
After another underwhelming start where the team was being heavily outshot in the first half of the frame, the Capitals picked up the pace toward the end of the period and showed flashes of urgency, including an impressive power-play attempt that featured seven shots. However, the first would end with Minnesota leading 2-0 as Marc-Andre Fleury and the Wild kept D.C. off the board.
Though there was a chance of a comeback thanks to heroics from Ovechkin, Ryan Reaves, Brandon Duhaime and Boldy's completed hat trick would seal the deal and of course, add emphasis to how a different start could have meant a completely different hockey game.
Ultimately, more turnovers, odd-man issues and poor coverage in front of Lindgren proved to be an issue in the loss.
Alex Ovechkin Strikes Twice, Ignites Spark As Late Rally Falls Short
Ovechkin was a game-time decision entering Sunday's game as he continues to deal with a lower-body injury, but with his team needing points to gain ground in the playoff race with only so many games left in the regular season, he suited up. It made all the difference as he gave his team a chance.
The captain struck twice, with both tallies coming on the power play. The first was off his signature shot from the office, while his second was off a blistering snapshot.
Ovechkin now sits one goal away from his 13th 40-goal season, which would pass Wayne Gretzky for the most in NHL history. He is also now two goals away from 300 career PPGs, and he is on a four-game point streak to boot.
Despite the goals from Ovechkin and a late tally from Dylan Strome — which was also assisted by Ovechkin — Washington's comeback was too little, too late, a similar narrative that's plagued the team this season.
Washington Capitals Lose Kuznetsov After Blindside Hit, Controversial Non-Call Costly
The Capitals were trailing by two in the third and making a strong push, but things went south after Evgeny Kuznetsov took a blindside hit in the defensive zone.
Kuznetsov was making a pass up ice when Matt Dumba hit him up high with the shoulder, catching No. 92 in the head/shoulder area. Kuznetsov went down in pain, and T.J. Oshie dropped the gloves with Dumba in response.
After laying a HUGE hit on Evgeny Kuznetsov, Matt Dumba chucks some knucks with T.J. Oshie#mnwild | #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/3NUHrjyCgp
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) March 19, 2023
However, the fight and call didn't go Washington's way. Oshie got called for an instigator and 10-minute misconduct, and Dumba's hit was deemed clean and went uncalled. Kuznetsov left with an undisclosed injury as a result of the hit and did not return.
Additional Ice Chips
– Rasmus Sandin picked up another point and now has 11 points so far in his tenure with D.C.
– Tom Wilson had two assists. He received a 10-minute misconduct at the end of the game after a scrum in front involving Dumba and Nicklas Backstrom following the earlier hit on Kuznetsov.
– Dylan Strome has points in seven of his last eight games and has 51 points this season.
– Lindgren stopped 35 of 40 shots (.875 save percentage). Darcy Kuemper is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.