Washington Capitals (6-3-0-12, 2nd SE) v. Minnesota Wild (3-3-2-8, 4th NW)
8:00 pm EST, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN
The Washington Capitals travel to the Land o'Lakes to face the Minnesota Wild in the middle game of a three-game road trip, in a building where Washington is 0-5-0 all-time.
Tonight's match-up to watch is the Caps penalty kill against Minnesota's top-rated power play. The Capitals are 13th in the league in total penalty minutes and ninth overall in minors taken. They took five minors last night in a 3-0 win over Carolina, killing all five ensuing power plays.
The Wild score at a 43.5 percent clip on the power play at home, so it's critical for the Caps to stay out of the box tonight.
Minnesota has lost their past two games, at Vancouver 5-1 and a shootout home loss to Los Angeles, 3-2, Monday night. They'll be well rested for a Caps team that enters play uncharacteristically looking to get on track offensively.
Coach Bruce Boudreau thinks a team on a two-game losing streak is a dangerous team, especially in the middle of a long homestand.
"We don't know them as well as we'd like to, and anytime you don't know a team, you feel uncomfortable with it," Boudreau said on Caps365 after this morning's practice . "You never like playing against a desperate team because they always play above themselves."
Rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth is expected to start again tonight. He stopped all 29 shots he faced for his first career shutout last night in Carolina. Neuvirth has appeared in all nine games for the Capitals and shares the NHL lead with six wins.
Neuvirth is already a third of the way to the Capitals’ rookie record for wins (18, Jim Carrey in 1994-95)._____________________________________________________________
WAS: LW Alex Ovechkin (4-5-9, even), LW Alexander Semin (5-3-8, +4), G Michal Neuvirth (6-2-0, 2.18, .929)
MIN: C Matt Cullen (3-6-9, -2), C Mikko Koivu (2-7-9, +5), G Niclas Backstrom (3-2-2, 2.25, .926)
WAS: C Marcus Johansson (foot-OUT), G Semyon Varlamov (groin-OUT), D Tom Poti (LBI-OUT), RW Boyd Gordon (UNK-QUE)
MIN: LW Guillaume Latendress (UNK.-OUT), RW Chuck Kobesew (groin-DBT), G Josh Harding (OUT)
WAS: GF/G: 2.89 (11th); GA/G: 2.33 (5th); PP: 11.1% (25th); PK: 90.0% (5th)
MIN: GF/G: 2.88 (13th); GA/G: 2.62 (13th); PP: 34.3% (1st); PK: 83.7% (17th)