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Capitals vs. Wild Recap: Wilson Returns and Washington Wins

Washington cruised to a 5 to 2 victory over the Wild in Tom Wilson’s return to the Capitals’ lineup

NHL: Washington Capitals at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Beginning a four game road trip in Minnesota the Capitals looked to rebound from a disappointing loss to the Coyotes on Sunday. Against the Wild Washington’s offense returned to form and powered the Capitals to a convincing 5 to 2 victory.

Here’s Tuesday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Washington improved its record to 6-1 when scoring the first goal of a game. Despite recent struggles this team remains dominant when starting off on the right foot.

Minus: The Capitals went without a power play goal once again. After starting the season as one of the best man advantage teams Washington has cooled off considerably to start November.

Eleven more notes on the game.

  1. Earlier today Tom Wilson’s twenty game suspension was reduced to 14, allowing him to immediately make his return to the lineup against in Minnesota. In 16 minutes of ice time Wilson had a sizable impact on the game.
  2. The Capitals started the contest well and it resulted in an early tally. Lars Eller possessed the puck around the offensive zone with speed before dishing it to Dmitry Orlov, who beat Devan Dubnyk high.
  3. Minnesota’s offense awoke and began to push back immediately. With the Wild beginning to put the puck on net, including a pair of posts from Jared Spurgeon and Jason Zucker, Washington was forced to scramble for a few shifts.
  4. But before the end of the first Wilson tallied his first of the season for a two goal lead. Orlov rushed down the left wing with the puck before passing to Wilson who tucked it home before colliding with Dubnyk (earning his first penalty minutes too).
  5. 37 seconds into the second period Eric Staal put the puck past Pheonix Copley with his right skate while on the man advantage. The goal was immediately waved off because of a kicking motion, keeping the Capitals ahead by two.
  6. Three minutes later Andre Burakovsky buried a net mouth scramble for his second of the season. Brett Connolly and Eller worked the puck to the crease from behind the net before Burakovsky backhanded it beyond Dubnyk’s grasp.
  7. Midway through the contest Minnesota would finally got on the board. At the conclusion of a Burakovsky penalty Mikko Koivu picked up the puck in the slot and beat Copley with a quick wrist shot which brought Xcel Energy Center to life.
  8. Feeding off that energy Marcus Foligno and Wilson squared off at center ice immediately after Koivu’s goal. Both forwards landed blows in the brief bout before they came crashing to the ice together. The second period would end with Washington still ahead by two tallies.
  9. In the final frame Orlov added his second of the game courtesy of Alex Ovechkin’s prime feed from the wing. With Wilson crashing the crease hard Dubnyk had no chance to stop the defenseman’s blast.
  10. T.J. Oshie then gave Washington its fifth when he hammered home a Nicklas Backstrom pass to put the game out of Minnesota’s reach. On an odd man rush up ice Backstrom looked off both Wild defenders before putting the puck on a platter for Oshie to finish.
  11. With less than six minutes to play Matt Dumba scored with the Wild on the power play. With Zach Parise providing traffic in the crease Dumba’s shot took a Minnesota bounce and squeaked through Copley’s left side. Despite the late goal against the Capitals’ goalie had a strong performance, ending the evening with 26 saves (.928 SP).