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Capitalized at the X: Wild Rally Twice, Come Up Short

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Wild can't best Braden Holtby and Capitals. Alex Ovechkin proved to be the difference on the scoresheet as the Wild fall in regulation.

Zach Parise shows his #Gritz
Zach Parise shows his #Gritz
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Wild came up short in a tightly contested game in which they battled to within 1 of the Capitals twice, but were unable to tie the game.  The Wild looked dangerous all night long, but couldn't finish against Braden Holtby.  There were periods of low activity early in the game, but penalties had a major role in the outcome of the game, but the PK continues to roll.  Mike Yeo may find a reason to insert Jordan Schroeder following the loss and heading into a tough matchup against Saint Louis.

The first period was the Matt Dumba show featuring the rookie flying all over the ice, breaking up odd-man rushes and taking a game high 3 shots in the frame.  Those shots were a product of the Mikko Koivu - Nino Niederreiter - Chris Stewart line spending all of their ice time in the offensive zone, drawing coverage down low and passing to a wide-open Dumba on the point.  The Wild sustained pressure across all four lines, but did give up some rushes and were able to turn those challenges away.  There was no score after one.

The story of the second period runs through Braden Holtby and penalties.  The Wild continued to cycle the Caps zone and fire shots on goal.  The sustained pressure led to guys being hunkered down in the offensive zone and not moving their feet, which allowed a few rushes to the Capital forwards.  Holtby shut down several good opportunities for the Wild.  The period was a bit chippy, and the Capitals took full advantage of their second 4-on-4 opportunity, scoring twice in 39 seconds, one a beautiful full ice charge by Alex Ovechkin.  The Wild PK however looked comfortable against the league's best power play and did not allow a goal.  Christian Folin, streaking down the right wing, struck back with 8 seconds left in the second to cut the lead in half.

The third opened up belonging to a Wild offensive cycle until Ovechkin struck again directly off a draw just 3 minutes in.  Down 2 goals, the Wild battled and fought and pressured and churned but could not find paydirt.  Past the halfway point, the Wild went on the power play and the first unit was unproductive for a minute, but the second unit struck quickly as Jared Spurgeon snuck down the lane and batted home a bouncing rebound from a Mikael Granlund shot and Thomas Vanek chop.  The second Ovechkin goal would hold up as the game winner as a late series of rushes by the Wild came up short.

The Wild get a day to regroup and prepare for a home tilt against the Blues on Saturday, who will be looking for revenge for their recent loss to the Wild.  The Wild had a 123 minute power play drought end tonight, but are still looking to improve production from both units.  The Wild have to stay sharp as Winnipeg pulled within a win of jumping them in the wildcard race.