Washington Caps fall to Minnesota Wild 5-3
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Ryan Suter scored three goals, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Washington Capitals 5-3 on Saturday night.
Suter completed the first hat trick by a Wild defenseman with 12:23 to play in the third and giving the Wild a two-goal lead. He jumped into the play straight out of the penalty box to create a 2-on-1 with Clayton Stoner, then beat Braden Holtby from the left faceoff circle off Stoner's feed.
The Wild won despite being outshot 30-11. Their previous season low for shots in a game was 13 in a 3-1 win over San Jose on Dec. 8. Minnesota has won two straight after snapping a franchise-record six-game losing streak on Thursday.
Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker each scored during Minnesota's four-gaol second period.
Minnesota shut out Alex Ovechkin, the NHL's leading goal scorer with 31. Ovechkin hit the post in the final minute as the Capitals tried to rally from a two-goal deficit.
Mike Green scored twice and Marcus Johansson tallied for Washington.
Washington took control early, outshooting Minnesota 11-1 in the first period and taking a 2-0 lead with two goals in a 13-second span midway through the period. First, Ovechkin fired a shot from the left point that hit Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom in the midsection. Backstrom couldn't control the rebound and Johansson tucked it past Backstrom's right skate for a power-play goal.
Off the ensuing faceoff, Jason Chimera picked up a loose puck at the Minnesota blue line and passed to Green, who made a move around Minnesota's Matt Cooke and beat Backstrom with a wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle.
The Wild rallied in the second period. Niederreiter and Zucker each scored, book-ending two goals by Suter on the same power play midway through the second. He tied the game on a wrist shot from between the circles with the Wild on a 5-on-3 advantage. He gave Minnesota the lead 42 seconds later when his shot from the same spot on the ice slipped past a screened Holtby.
Green caught a break with an odd bounce for his second goal of the night to tie it 3-all. Off a faceoff, he flipped the puck off the end boards, but it caromed off Backstrom's left skate and into the net.
Minnesota was playing without defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who had been teaming with Suter as the Wild's top pair at the blue line. Spurgeon sustained a lower-body injury in Thursday's win over Buffalo and was placed on injured reserve on Saturday.