Capitals’ first-period woes continue in loss to Wild
Capitals’ first-period woes continue in loss to Wild originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
For the fifth straight game, the Capitals allowed their opponent to score first as the Minnesota Wild rode an early lead to a 5-3 win Sunday afternoon at Xcel Energy Center.
Washington entered the contest having allowed a goal on their first shot against in each of their last three games. The Wild didn’t score on their first attempt, but the puck bounced out enough for left wing Matt Boldy to put the home team ahead 50 seconds in. Boldy scored his second of three goals four minutes later to put the Capitals on their heels for the rest of the game.
Though the Capitals never managed to close the gap on the scoreboard, Alex Ovechkin did all he could to keep them in the game. He scored twice on the power play, first with a one-timer from just above his office and the second on a wrister right off the draw.
Manning the net for Minnesota was Marc-Andre Fleury, who allowed his 26th and 27th career goal to Ovechkin — the most the Capitals’ captain has scored on any goaltender in the NHL. Fleury put up a strong performance nonetheless, outdueling Capitals netminder Charlie Lindgren for the win by stopping 33 of 36 shots.
Lindgren (35 saves on 40 shots) started in the place of Darcy Kuemper, who left practice Friday early with an upper-body injury. With Kuemper officially day-to-day, AHL Hershey call-up Zach Fucale served as Lindgren’s backup in Minnesota. Defenseman Nick Jensen missed his second-straight game with an upper-body injury as well.
The Capitals were also dealt yet another blow on the injury front in the third period when Evgeny Kuznetsov was on the receiving end of a big open-ice hit by Wild defenseman Mathew Dumba. T.J. Oshie took exception to the hit and got into a fight with Dumba, but officials ruled the hit was clean. Kuznetsov left for the locker room and didn’t return.
Washington made a desperate late push by pulling Lindgren with four minutes left in regulation. The tactic did lead to a late tally by Dylan Strome, his 17th of the season, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the loss. The Capitals will look to bounce back Tuesday at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets.