Ovechkin and the Capitals will try to avoid a season high-tying fourth straight loss Saturday night and earn their first road win against a Minnesota Wild team that just snapped a lengthy skid.
Ovechkin had gone four games without a point, matching a career high, before scoring his NHL-best 31st goal Thursday against Carolina. The three-time MVP, however, also missed a penalty shot in the second period of a 4-3 overtime loss.
The teams combined for five goals in the first 4:34 of that frame and Washington only led for 40 seconds during that flurry of scoring.
"I know it's a fun game to watch, but we've got to be able to calm it down," forward Troy Brouwer said. "Whenever we score a goal - we had a couple of big goals that put us ahead there - we've got to be able to build off that and make sure that we're not giving them opportunities right away. It's been a problem all year."
The result dropped the Capitals (20-15-6) to 0-1-2 in their last three and put them on the verge of matching their four-game slide from Nov. 20-27. Washington is also 1-2-3 in its last six and 1-2-2 in its past five road games.
"I think our consistency is something that definitely needs to be worked on," Brouwer said. "We need to make sure we're playing the same game every night and not being a different team depending on who we're playing against."
Minnesota, meanwhile, is hoping to build on a 4-1 home win over Buffalo on Thursday, which ended a season-worst six-game skid. Niklas Backstrom earned his first win in net since Nov. 23 while playing in place of an ill Josh Harding.
"The biggest thing for us is we did all the small things. We got all the details right," said Backstrom, who stopped 19 shots. "That's something we have to build on."
Backstrom is expected to start again Saturday even if Harding's health improves, but the Wild will likely once again not have one of their top scorers, Zach Parise, available due to a foot injury.
Parise assisted on his team's first goal in Washington on Nov. 7 and Mikael Granlund gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead entering the third period. The Wild, though, gave up a tying goal to Marcus Johansson with 3:08 left in regulation, and Braden Holtby outdueled Harding in the shootout to give his team a 3-2 victory.
Ovechkin scored the opening goal in that game and has one in each of his last four matchups against the Wild. The Capitals have won the past two meetings - their only win streak in the series - but are 0-5-1 all-time in Minnesota.
Washington is visiting the Xcel Energy Center for the first time since Oct. 28, 2010.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Washington Capitals
- Alex Ovechkin