Minnesota Wild vs Washington Capitals: Game Preview

Jeff Gross

Tonight, the Minnesota Wild (9-4-3) play the Washington Capitals (8-7-0) at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. 6 P.M. Central. Television FSN, Radio 107.9-FM.

Both teams come into tonight's game riding a three game winning streak. The Minnesota Wild have not played Capitals at the Verizon Center since March 25, 2012 (3-0 Capitals).

The Minnesota Wild:

The Minnesota Wild are smoking hot right now. Red hot! They have won six of the last seven games. During that time frame, they have scored 24 goals. The Minnesota Wild have the second best power play in the NHL (25.0 percent), second only to the Capitals. On the flip side, the Wild's penalty kill is ranked 25th or (77.8 percent).

Up front the Wild are led by Zach Parise (8g-6a—14pts), Jason Pominville (10g-2a—12pts), Mikko Koivu (2g-9a—11pts), Mkael Granlund (1g-10a—11pts). Defensively, the back end is led by stalwarts Ryan Suter (0g-10a—10pts) and Jonas Brodin (3g-3a—6pts). In goal: Josh Harding has been a stone wall putting up all-star numbers, 1.09 GAA, .951 save percentage and a 8-2-1 record. Harding is leading the NHL in goals against average, save percentage and he's tied for the lead with four other goalies for shutouts.

The Washington Capitals:

On Tuesday night, the Capitals beat the New York Islanders 6-2. Last season's league MVP, Alexander Ovechkin led the Capitals with (2g-1a-3pts) against the Islanders. Capitals goalie Braden Holtby picked up the win stopping 20 of 22 shots. The NHL's number one power play went 4 for 6 against the Islanders and the Capitals penalty kill didn't give up a power play goal in five Islander opportunities.

Former Minnesota Golden Gopher Defenseman Nate Schmidt plays for the Capitals and has been paired with Mike Green on the Caps number one defense pairing.

Tonight, the Minnesota Wild need to stay out of the penalty box against the Washington Capitals, because the Capitals have the NHL best power play (27.9 percent). Don't expect the Wild to score a lot of goals on the power play either, as the Caps have the NHL's best penalty kill (91.5 percent).

All time against the Capitals:

The Minnesota Wild are 1-5 against the Capitals in Washington, D.C. with the last win coming on November 21, 2002, when the Wild won by a score of 4-3. The Wild have been outscored 14-4 in those five losses against the Capitals.

Western Conference Standings:

GP

W-L-OT

PTS

Anaheim Ducks

17

13-3-1

27

Colorado Avalanche

14

12-2-0

24

San Jose Sharks

15

10-1-4

24

Chicago Blackhawks

16

10-2-4

24

Phoenix Coyotes

17

11-4-2

24

Vancouver Canucks

17

10-5-2

22

Minnesota Wild

16

9-4-3

21

St. Louis Blues

13

9-2-2

20

Nashville

15

8-5-2

18

Los Angeles Kings

15

9-6-0

18

Dallas Stars

15

7-6-2

16

Calgary Flames

15

6-7-2

14

Winnipeg Jets

17

6-9-2

14

Edmonton Oilers

16

4-10-2

10

Injuries:

Keith Ballard is out with an upper body injury and didn’t make the road trip. According to Michael Russo, it’s not a Concussion. Nate Prosser will get the call and play in his place.

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