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Wild look to keep momentum in first of three home games

WILD GAMEDAY

vs. Washington Capitals, Xcel Energy Center, 7 p.m. Tuesday

TV; radio: BSN; 100.3 FM

Stats and analytics: Tap here.

Pregame reading: Kirill Kaprizov was at his best over the weekend, and he picked up the NHL's first star of the week honor Monday as a reward. In four games last week, Kaprizov scored five times and picked up three assists for eight points.

For the fans: The Wild are back in St. Paul for a three-game homestand before taking a break for the bye week and NHL All-Star Game.

Sarah McLellan's preview:

Opening bell: The Wild return home from the road, and they brought momentum with them. After getting schooled at their first stop, the Wild (20-21-5) responded with back-to-back victories to pick up four out of a possible six points. The last time they won two in a row was Dec. 23 and 27. Washington (22-16-6) hasn't played since a 3-0 loss to St. Louis on Saturday.

Watch him: Wild C Joel Eriksson Ek is back to his clutch ways. After shedding a 10-game goalless drought, Eriksson Ek has four goals and four assists during a four-game point streak. On Sunday vs. Carolina, he scored the game-winning goal, assisted on two other tallies and helped the penalty kill go 4-for-4. Eriksson Ek's next goal will mark his third straight 20-goal season.

Injuries: Wild C Connor Dewar (lower body), G Marc-Andre Fleury (upper body), RW Frederick Gaudreau (upper body), RW Vinni Lettieri (lower body) and D Jared Spurgeon (hip and back). Capitals C Nicklas Backstrom (hip), LW Sonny Milano (upper body) and D Rasmus Sandin (upper body).

Forecast: How the Wild start could very well set the tone for the night. Are they galvanized by a successful conclusion to their road trip? Or sluggish from the quick turnaround? If they're ready to go, that can help them gain control early against an up-and-down Capitals team. But if they aren't, a rested Washington lineup might be a handful. As is usually the case for the Wild, the first period should be telling.

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