Wild play better, earn point in Washington

WASHINGTON — Well, that was more like it.

Washington Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) blocks a shot as Minnesota Wild left wing Pat Maroon (20) waits for a rebound during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

After allowing an average of 5.2 goals in their previous four games, the Wild held the Washington Capitals to two regulation goals and assured themselves of a point in a 3-2 shootout loss at Capital One Arena.

Marc-Andre Fleury gave the Wild a chance to win it with one shootout goal, stopping the first six shots he faced, but Darcy Keumper silenced a phalanx of Wild forwards on the other end, and defenseman John Carlson finally won it for the Capitals.

Marco Rossi gave Minnesota its first first-period lead since Oct. 19, and Ryan Hartman tied the game with an unassisted goal just over a minute into the third period, and Fleury stopped 30 shots in regulation and overtime, including all 17 he faced in the third period.

Making his first start since giving up seven goals in a 7-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 19, Fleury stopped shots from Evgeny Kuznetskov, T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, Dylan Strome, Alex Ovechkin and Sonny Milano in the shootout before Carlson scored with a wrist shot to the far corner.

Still, it was an improvement over Thursday’s game at Philadelphia, which Minnesota lost, 6-2, to start a three-game road trip that ends Sunday in New Jersey.

Rossi slapped in a rebound on a Marcus Foligno charge in the three-on-three overtime, but Foligno knocked over Keumper, and the goal was waved off. Marcus Johansson then had a breakaway with under four seconds remaining, but Keumper got his right pad on it to send the game to a shootout.

Minnesota was 0 for 6 on the power play.

Pat Maroon found the puck on his stick off a ricochet, but his one-timer went wide with under two minutes to play.

Hartman tied the game early in the third period, tying it after stealing the puck from Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary at the blue line and racing at Keumper all alone.

Hartman started from the right circle, skated left and scored on a backhand to make it 3-3 at 1:16 of the period.

Minnesota had some Grade A chances on a power play midway through the period, but Kuemper, who started his career with the Wild in 2012, turned them all away.

Next it was Fleury’s turn for a big save, stopping Evgeny Kluznetsov at the post after the center skated behind the net and tried to stuff the puck in at the corner at 8:33.

The Wild jumped on the Capitals from the start, establishing a forecheck and getting the puck quickly out their end — something they didn’t do in Thursday’s 6-2 loss at Philadelphia.

Marco Rossi gave the Wild a 1-0 lead when he sniped a shot from the slot past Kuemper just 2 minutes, 17 seconds into the game. Marcus Foligno one-timed a pass from above the blue line to give Rossi a straight look at the goal.

It was Minnesota’s first first-period lead since they were up, 2-1, on Los Angeles in a 7-3 loss to the Kings on Oct. 19.

It was relatively short-lived.

The Wild were all over the Capitals through 10 minutes and went on their second power play after Vinni Lettieri drew a tripping penalty in his own end at 8:16. But the Capitals started a rush the other way when Tom Wilson dug a puck out of his own corner, then caused a turnover at the wall.

The puck wound up on the stick of defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk, who pushed north with a pass to Connor McMichael — who found Wilson streaking down the left side. Fleury came out of the crease, and Wilson hit the far corned with a wrist shot at 9:49 to tie the game 1-1.

Washington took its first lead after Jake Middleton was called for interference at 16:12 and the Capitals went on their first power play. Roughly a minute later, Ovechkin fired a cross-crease pass to Strome, who was alone at the far corner of the crease.

Strome slammed it home, and the Capitals led 2-1 at 17:14.

The Capitals appeared to take a 3-1 lead midway through the second period when Ovechkin, behind the defense at the crease, corralled a rebound and stuffed it into the corner of the net. But the Wild called for an offside challenge, and referees determined Ovechkin had lost possession of the puck and preceded it into the offensive zone.

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