The Capitals (39-19-6) wrap up a brief two-game road trip in St. Paul on Sunday as they take on the Minnesota Wild (32-25-7). You can watch the game on NBCSN with pre and postgame coverage on NBC Sports Washington Plus. Pregame coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Caps FaceOff Live followed by Caps Pregame Live at 7:30 p.m. After the game on NBCSN, tune back in to NBC Sports Washington Plus for postgame coverage with Caps Postgame Live and Caps Overtime Live.
Here is what you need to know for Sunday’s game.
Based on Saturday's practice, it looks like Todd Reirden will be keeping the same lines we have seen of late for Sunday's game. Here are the expected lines:
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Ilya Kovalchuk
Richard Panik - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway
Brenden Dillon - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Michal Kempny - Radko Gudas
Holtby expected to start
Braden Holtby is expected to start Sunday after Ilya Samsonov got the start Thursday in Winnipeg. Holtby's overall numbers are not great this season with a 3.12 GAA and .897 save percentage, but he has turned his season around dramatically over the last few weeks. In his last seven appearances, Holtby has managed a .917 save percentage and 2.64 GAA and has reclaimed his place as the team's No. 1 starter. The only problem is that Holtby is 3-2-1 in those last seven appearances, but that is more a product of the team's struggles than of his.
Two steps forward, one step back
With wins over Pittsburgh and Winnipeg, it looked like Washington's struggles were finally over. A 3-0 loss to the Jets on Thursday, however, suggests otherwise. The reality is that those two wins won't mean much if the team continues losing as the Caps have now lost five of their last seven. A loss on Sunday would be a pretty strong indication that the team has yet to get back on track.
With Sunday's game, Washington will have played every team in the NHL at least once as Minnesota is the only team yet to play the Caps this season. They will meet again in Washington on April 2, the penultimate game of the regular season.
The Wild may have traded away Jason Zucker and fired Bruce Boudreau, but the offense has suddenly come alive. Minnesota has scored at least five goals in each of its last three games and in four of the last five. In those five games, the Wild have outscored opponents 23-12. The last three games were two games against the fading Columbus Blue Jackets and one game against the awful Detroit Red Wings, but those are still NHL teams (barely in Detroit's case) and Minnesota's offensive explosion is still impressive. Holtby and the defense better be ready to go for this one because you know the Wild will be.
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