Alexander Shun | @alexpshun
Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com
With another losing streak hanging over them, the Minnesota Wild will once again look to get back in the win column and close the regular season by stringing together some wins. That task starts tonight when the Wild host the league-leading Washington Capitals.
The Capitals enter tonight's match-up having earned points in their last six games including wins in their last four while Minnesota is slumping having lost three-consecutive games and eight of their last 10 games. With such a pivotal game tonight against the league's top team, Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau kept his message to the team short and sweet...
"Embrace the situation," Boudreau said Tuesday morning after his team's practice. "We're playing the best team in the league and if you look at it as, 'Uh oh, we're playing the best team in the league,' or 'Man what a challenge we're playing the best team in the league,' embrace that instead of shying away from it and you'll have a better chance of success."
Just two weeks ago, the Wild and Capitals clashed in D.C. and Washington emerged victorious, knocking off the Wild 4-2 and sending Minnesota to their then second-straight loss. Wild players know how good the Capitals are and know they will have to be at their best if they hope to win tonight.
"They know how to put pucks in the net," Nino Niederreiter said, speaking on the depth of the Capital's lineup. "They have some elite scorers on their team so we have to make sure we play safe, play very solid defensively and find a way to get the win."
Minnesota is 24-12-1 at home this season but have lost four of their last five games at the Xcel Energy Center which should be a big advantage for Washington; however, the Capitals have lost three of their last four road games.
Braden Holtby (39-11-6, .927 sv%. 2.01 GAA) will be in net for Washington tonight and will be countered by Minnesota's All-Star goaltender Devan Dubnyk (37-19-4, .926 Sv%, 2.18 GAA).
With playoffs right around the corner, tonight's game is an excellent opportunity for Minnesota to make a statement and settle some uneasiness that is growing throughout the fanbase. Wild players have made it clear that they want to play well and get some big wins heading into the playoffs but, at the end of the day, they're going to take it one game at a time, and that starts with the Capitals.
"There are only seven games left and we've got to get ready for the Playoffs but we need to go game by game and get ready for every single game and get better all the time," Mikael Granlund said. "When it's playoff time, it's that time, but right now we need to focus on this one."