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Minnesota Rides Hot Start To 5-3 Victory Over Washington; Ovechkin Scores Twice; Johansson Notches Two Assists


Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the Minnesota Wild, who were 11-0-3 in their previous 14 games before a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, by a score of 5-3 at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday afternoon. Goaltender Charlie Lindgren made 35 saves in the loss.

Washington’s Lines at Minnesota

Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Conor Sheary
T.J. Oshie — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Tom Wilson
Sonny Milano — Nicklas Backstrom — Craig Smith
Aliaksei Protas — Nic Dowd — Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Rasmus Sandin — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Martin Fehervary — Alexander Alexeyev
Matt Irwin — Gabriel Carlsson

Zach Fucale

Scratched: D Gabriel Carlsson, LW Anthony Mantha

Injured: D John Carlson (skull/severed temporal artery, missed 35th straight game, out day-to-day); RW Connor Brown (ACL, 67th, indefinite); LW Carl Hagelin (hip, 71st, indefinite); G Darcy Kuemper (upper-body, first, day-to-day); D Nick Jensen (upper-body, second, day-to-day)

Fucale, who was recalled from the AHL’s Hershey Bears on Saturday, backed up Lindgren after Kuemper got nicked up in practice. Washington made no other changes from Friday’s 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Friday. Ovechkin was labeled as a game-time decision due to a lower-body injury.

Minnesota’s Lines

Sam Steel — Ryan Hartman — Mats Zuccarello
Marcus Johansson — Joel Eriksson Ek — Matt Boldy
Brandon Duhaime — Frederick Gaudreau — Oskar Sundqvist
Mason Shaw — Connor Dewar — Ryan Reaves

Jacob Middleton — Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin — Matt Dumba
Alex Goligoski — John Klingberg

Marc-Andre Fleury
Filip Gustavsson

Scratched: C Sam Steel, D Calen Addison, D Jon Merrill

Injured: LW Kirill Kaprizov (lower-body, fifth, week-to-week); LW Gustav Nyquist (shoulder, 22nd, regular season); RW Marcus Foligno (lower-body, third, day-to-day)

Johansson faced his former team for the first time since Washington traded him to Minnesota on February 28.

First Period


0:50, 1-0 Minnesota: Johansson’s wrister from the side was stopped by the left pad of Lindgren before Boldy pounced on the rebound and slid it past him.

4:36, 2-0: Boldy slapped one into an empty cage from the right dot to finish a give-and-go with Johansson, who was in the slot.

Shots: 12-11 Washington

Other Notable Stats: Washington led 3-2 in takeaways, failed to score on the period’s lone power play, and won 59% of the faceoffs. Minnesota led 4-1 in blocked shots and had two giveaways while Washington tallied five. Each team threw six hits.

Second Period


5:31, 2-1 (PPG): After Sandin held a clearing puck in the offensive zone, he stepped and fed Ovechkin, who was above the left dot, for a one-timer to the top right corner off of Fleury’s arm and his 38th of the season. Sandin tallied his 11th point (10th helper) in eight games with Washington. Sandin has recorded a point in six of his eight games with Washington since making his team debut on March 4. Four of Sandin’s 10 assists with the team have come on the power play. Ovechkin has recorded 34 points (18 goals) in 21 career games against Minnesota and has registered a point in every game he has played in the State of Hockey dating to Oct. 12, 2006 (14 goals, 23 points in 12). The goal marks Ovechkin’s 26th goal in 45 career regular-season games against Fleury, the most goals he has scored against a single goaltender in his career.

10:14, 3-1: Hartman spun around to fight Alexeyev off of his back along the wall, took a few steps, and ripped a shot before Reaves tipped it through Lindgren’s five-hole.

Shaw took down Irwin as the two threw punches and the period expired.



Third Period

1:32 into the period, Dumba decked Kuznetsov in the left shoulder and Oshie tangled with him before the linesman broke the fight up. Kuznetsov left the game.


3:46, 4-1: Duchaime skated to the inside and backhanded a shot to the top left corner in close from by the goal-line while trying to protect the puck from Sandin.

12:33, 4-2 (PPG): Off of the faceoff win, Ovechkin stepped in and fired a shot under the glove of Fleury and in for his 39th. Ovechkin has recorded his 167th career multi-goal game. Strome recorded his 35th assist of the season on the Capitals’ second goal. Strome’s 16 power-play points rank third on Washington (Ovechkin: 24; Kuznetsov: 18).

13:58, 5-2: After poking the puck away from Strome at the defensive blueline, Boldy raced down to the puck, skated in, and ripped one over the glove of Lindgren to finish off the hat-trick.

16:26, 5-3: Strome potted a rebound from Ovechkin’s slapper at the top in the side of the blue crease with Fleury falling in the paint. Strome has recorded a team-high 12 points (four goals) in the month of March. Ovechkin was credited with the secondary assist on the goal and has now recorded three or more points in seven games this season with his performance, which included two goals, on Sunday.



Current Eastern Conference Wild-Card Standings

Washington trails the Pittsburgh Penguins (who have two games in hand) by five points for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and Florida Panthers (two) by four for the third. They lead the Buffalo Sabres (three) by one, Ottawa Senators (two) by two, and Detroit Red Wings (three) by four for the third.

Next game: Tuesday vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington in-market, ESPN+ out-of-market)

By Harrison Brown

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