Washington Capitals (38-23-10) at Minnesota Wild (39-24-7)
|Date & Time||Thursday March 19, 2015, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Minnesota Wild -139 / Washington Capitals +126 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
Things looked like they were slowly coming undone for the Washington Capitals heading into their match with the Boston Bruins on Sunday night. The Capitals had lost three of four heading into that game and found themselves tied with the Bruins for the two wild card spots. Washington looked poised for another loss against a red hot Bruins club, but instead they got a great goaltending performance and found a way to squeak out a regulation victory by a score of 2-0. The club followed that win up the very next night with a shaky win over the Buffalo Sabres. It wasn’t easy but at the end of the day the two points are all that matters. Washington trailed 1-0 before Curtis Glencross evened things up with his 14th goal of the season coming on the power play. That tie would last for less than a minute because Buffalo would answer back and take a 2-1 lead with them into the first intermission. Mike Green’s sixth goal of the season tied the game again for the Capitals, but nothing was going to come easy on this night. Evgeny Kuznetsov gave Washington their first lead of the game early in the third period before the Sabres would answer to square things up once more. These two clubs needed a shootout to decide the outcome and Braden Holtby was able to stop all three shooters he faced and lift Washington to the 4-3 victory. Kuznetsov scored the only goal in the shootout for the Capitals. Now it’s time for the Caps to get right back at it with a match up with one of the hottest teams in the league on Thursday night.
The Minnesota Wild head into this game with a four point lead over their nearest competitor for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. It’s incredible just how good this team has been since they acquired Devan Dubnyk, but there doesn’t appear to be anything that can slow them down. After a big win over the St. Louis Blues the other night the Wild followed that up with an impressive come from behind victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. Charlie Coyle’s ninth goal of the season gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play, but Nashville scored twice in the middle frame to take control. With Pekka Rinne in net it’s always difficult for a team to rally in the third period, but the Wild found a way. Coyle struck again with his second goal of the night and 10th of the season, and just 22 seconds into overtime it was Matt Dumba with his seventh goal of the season to lift the Wild to a win. This was not a team that looked like they’d be making the playoffs earlier this season, but things have changed immensely. Minnesota is not only on their way to a post season berth, but they’ve got a real chance at a massive first round upset with the way they’re playing right now.
These two clubs are fairly evenly matched but the way that the Wild have been playing and this game being on home ice certainly gives them an edge. Washington will need Alex Ovechkin to come up big in this one if they want to come away with a victory.