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Preview: Wild start trip with visit to D.C.

Kaprizov and Ovechkin face off once again.

Minnesota Wild v Washington Capitals Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

No matter how many times Kirill Kaprizov plays against Alex Ovechkin for the rest of his career, it will always feel like a substantial game. The Minnesota Wild star idolizes the Washington Capitals captain to a tremendous amount; so much so that (in case you forgot) he had his jersey under his own at the All-Star Skills Competition and no one even got that mad about it. We totally get it.

Wild at Capitals

When: 6:00 p.m.
Where: Capital One Arena
TV: BSN, BSWIX, NBCSWA
Radio: KFAN 100.3

Tonight, they get to face each other for just the second time in Kaprizov’s career. The previous matchup — a 5-1 win for the Wild in April of last year — ended up being a quasi sign of respect for both players. Although I’m sure neither really did this on purpose, but Kaprizov finished without a point and Ovechkin finished the game with just one assist and no goal scored. That’s cute.

Unfortunately the Capitals might be a little more aggressive tonight since having just lost back-to-back against the Philadelphia Flyers of all teams, they are holding on to the top wild card spot in the Eastern Conference by just four points. A little bit of comfort but not a whole lot.

For the Wild, well it’s just the status quo for both the lineup and the motive to maintain their safe spot in the standings.

Projected Wild lineup

Kirill Kaprizov — Sam Steel — Mats Zuccarello
Jordan Greenway — Joel Eriksson Ek — Marcus Foligno
Ryan Hartman — Frederick Gaudreau — Matt Boldy
Brandon Duhaime — Connor Dewar — Ryan Reaves

Jake Middleton — Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin — Matt Dumba
Jon Merrill — Calen Addison

Filip Gustavsson is starting!

It’s the same lines at forward, as we somewhat expect. Mason Shaw is still sitting on the sidelines, and while it would be nice to see him play soon, you have to imagine that Evason wants Ryan Reaves to potentially battle against Tom Wilson and anyone else wanting to get physical.

Projected Capitals lineup

Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Conor Sheary
Anthony Mantha — Evgeny Kuznetsov — T.J. Oshie
Sonny Milano — Nicklas Backstrom — Tom Wilson
Marcus Johansson — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin — Martin Fehervary

Charlie Lindgren is projected to start tonight’s matchup over our old friend Darcy Kuemper.

Typical Capitals having some really good offense and average-enough defense to not lose them games. Their top-nine is jam-packed with players that can score a heck of a lot of goals and their blue line is fairly mobile, to supplement those forwards with some offense, despite their headliner John Carlson missing from the lineup.

Puck drop is at 6:00 p.m.

Burning Questions

Will Matt Boldy have a statement game after signing his contract?

Fans, management, and his teammates are incredibly exciting for Boldy to sign long-term with Minnesota, but how will he handle his first game since putting pen to paper? It’s not like we’ll really make any bold statements if he doesn’t light the lamp tonight, but it would be just so nice to see him score a couple points.

Will Kaprizov get his first point against his idol?

And speaking of points, will Kaprizov get his first while facing Ovechkin? The ceremony of playing his first game against his childhood hero has washed away and he should be all business in Washington tonight.