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Wild fend off Capitals 5-3 to win third in a row

The Wild's momentum didn't stay on the road.

They picked up a third straight victory in their return home from a two-win, three-game trip, eclipsing the Capitals 5-3 on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center for their longest streak since a four-game run Dec. 19-27.

Over their last five, the Wild are 4-1 and they have at least a point in five of their past seven.

Brock Faber, Marcus Foligno, Marcus Johansson and Joel Eriksson Ek scored, while Filip Gustavsson stopped 31 shots after a 40-save victory Sunday at Carolina.

Since taking over for the injured Marc-Andre Fleury last Friday in Florida, Gustavsson is 3-0.

Fleury remains sidelined with an upper-body injury after getting hit behind the net by the Panthers' Will Lockwood, who was suspended three games for the incident in a 6-4 nail-biter for the Wild.

But the Wild did get Frederick Gaudreau back in the lineup after he sat out the previous two games with his own upper-body injury.

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Fresh off that 5-2 win against the Hurricanes, the Wild started strong, with Faber giving the team a lead only 1 minute, 37 seconds after the opening faceoff.

He buried a Mats Zuccarello rebound that caromed off the end boards, and the goal was a record-breaker: Faber owns the longest point streak in franchise history by a rookie defenseman at five games; he has two goals and six assists during that stretch.

Already, the Maple Grove native is tied for the third-most points in a season by a Wild rookie defenseman with 28; only Filip Kuba (30 in 2000-01) and Calen Addison (29 in 2022-23) have more.

Only 3:05 after Faber scored, the Wild moved ahead 2-0 on a slick sequence from Foligno.

He caught a deflected Matt Boldy shot, dropped the puck to his feet and jammed it by Washington and one-time Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper.

Joel Eriksson Ek's assist on the goal stretched his point streak to a season-high five games.

BOXSCORE: Wild 5, Washington 3

Then, at 6:28 of the second period, Johansson cruised through the neutral zone and flung in a shot from the left circle against his former team; Johansson was traded from the Capitals to the Wild last season before re-signing in the offseason and has 10 points in 12 games against Washington.

At the 10-minute mark, the Capitals finally pushed a puck past Gustavsson, a redirect by Anthony Mantha off an Evgeny Kuznetsov pass.

But then Washington's rally took a break before a late surge.

Eriksson Ek tallied his team-leading 20th goal just 1:37 into the third period to become only the ninth Wild player to post three straight 20-goal seasons. Johansson added another at 13:39 to go before the Capitals power play capitalized for the first time in four chances on a tip by Warroad's T.J. Oshie at 17:03. Mantha pounced on a loose puck with 1:36 left.

The Wild power play went 0-for-2.

Kuemper finished with 25 saves.