NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, November 13th
(All times eastern)
Minnesota Wild (7-10-1) at Washington Capitals (11-3-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will aim for a fourth consecutive
victory tonight when they host the Minnesota Wild in an interconference clash
at Verizon Center.
The Capitals have won three in a row despite not having superstar winger Alex
Ovechkin for any of those contests. Ovechkin, who has missed the last four
games with an upper-body strain, is not expected to play tonight or on
Saturday against New Jersey, but the Russian sniper could be back for
Tuesday's test against the Rangers in New York.
Washington earned its most recent victory in dramatic fashion as captain Chris
Clark tallied the deciding goal in the 11th round of the shootout to lift the
Caps to Wednesday's 5-4 home win over the New York Islanders.
Clark opened the 11th and final round with a snapshot under the crossbar, and
Semyon Varlamov was able to make a pad stop on Mark Streit to end the contest.
"I'm just trying to see with every shot which ones go in and which ones aren't
the best," Clark said in anticipation of his chance. "It's something you have
time to look at especially if things run this long."
Alexander Semin recorded a pair of goals in regulation for the Capitals.
Semin's first goal came eight seconds into the game, tying the Washington
franchise record for fastest goal from the start of a contest, set by Gaetan
Duchesne on March 14, 1987 at St. Louis
Tomas Fleischmann and Eric Fehr also tallied while Varlamov finished the game
with 25 saves. Jose Theodore got the start but was pulled after allowing three
goals on five shots in less than seven minutes.
Caps defenseman Jeff Schultz is questionable for tonight's game after missing
the previous two outings with a lower-body injury. Forward David Steckel is
also questionable after leaving the team Wednesday to be with his family
following the death of his grandmother. Steckel is expected to return to
Washington today, but it's uncertain if he will be in the lineup tonight.
Also, Washington could have centerman Boyd Gordon back on the ice tonight
after he missed the last 12 games with a back injury. Gordon is on injured
reserved and would have to be activated before tonight's game.
Washington, which is completing a three-game homestand tonight, is 6-1-3 as
the host this season.
The Wild have recorded a point in three straight games, but are coming off
Thursday's shootout loss, which ended a two-game winning streak. Ryan Malone
scored the equalizer with 14.7 seconds left in regulation and Vincent
Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos had goals in the shootout to lift the Tampa Bay
Lightning to a 4-3 victory over visiting Minnesota.
Owen Nolan, Kim Johnsson and Benoit Pouliot had the goals for the Wild, while
Niklas Backstrom made 19 saves in the loss.
"They're all disappointed in there," Wild head coach Todd Richards said.
"That's the emotion you want from them. You want them to be disappointed we
didn't get the win...They played extremely hard, did a lot of really good
things. But we're still finding ways to give teams goals and opportunities."
The Wild are playing the third of four straight on the road tonight and will
close the swing Sunday at Carolina. Minnesota is just 2-8-1 as the guest this
Tonight marks the only scheduled meeting of the season between the Wild and
Capitals. Minnesota posted a 4-3 home victory over the Washington last year,
giving it five wins in the last six meetings. The Wild have lost three of
their four all-time trips to D.C.
11/13 10:34:01 ET