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Capitals host Wild in matchup of streaking clubs
(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of streaking teams will try to continue their hot play on Thursday, as the Washington Capitals welcome the Minnesota Wild for a clash at the Verizon Center.
Both the Capitals and the Wild enter Thursday's battle in D.C. riding three- game winning streaks. Minnesota also has claimed victory in six of its past seven trips to the ice, while the Caps have come out on top in six of their last eight tilts.
Minnesota has outscored the opposition by a 13-4 margin during its three-game winning streak and is coming off Tuesday's 5-1 rout of the visiting Calgary Flames.
Zach Parise recorded two goals and an assist against the Flames, helping the Wild post their third three-game winning streak of the season. Minnesota last won four in a row during a 7-0 stretch from March 14-27 of last season.
Mikko Koivu scored once and assisted on two other goals on Tuesday for Minnesota, which fell behind 1-0 before dominating the rest of the way and concluding a four-game homestand with a third straight win.
"I thought we had a sluggish start, but we got better as the game went on and capitalized on our chances," said Parise.
Josh Harding, who posted his second shutout of the season in Sunday's 4-0 win over New Jersey, turned aside 24-of-25 shots in another strong performance between the pipes. Justin Fontaine and Zenon Konopka also potting goals in the blowout.
Minnesota hopes to stay hot during a two-game road trip that begins tonight in D.C. The Wild, who are set to visit Carolina on Saturday, are just 2-3-1 as the guest this season compared to a stellar 7-1-2 record in St. Paul.
The Wild are 1-5-0 all-time in D.C. and haven't earned a road win against the Capitals since Nov. 21, 2002. Minnesota has dropped three in a row at Washington since that victory and the Caps have taken three of the last five overall meetings in this series.
Washington has posted a goal differential of plus-12 over its last three games, beating the opposition by a combined 16-4 margin during the win streak.
The latest victory came in the middle test of a three-game homestand, as Washington pounded the visiting New York Islanders, 6-2. Alex Ovechkin led the way in the blowout, returning from a two-game absence to deliver two goals and an assist.
Washington used a five-goal second period and four power-play markers to register its third consecutive victory. Marcus Johansson and Tom Wilson both netted a goal and an assist in the rout, with John Carlson and Alexander Urbom also scoring for the Capitals.
"Our power play clicks almost all of the time," Capitals head coach Adam Oates remarked. "We talk about it all the time, (that) we stop ourselves. We should be in a position that we should feel that on a given night we stop ourselves, they don't stop us."
Nicklas Backstrom assisted on three of Washington's power-play tallies, while Braden Holtby made 34 saves to help make Ovechkin's comeback from an upper- body injury a successful one.
Ovechkin has three goals and two assists over five career outings against the Wild. Parise has amassed 18 points on eight goals and 10 assists in 25 lifetime appearances versus the Capitals.
Washington, which will visit Phoenix and Colorado during a two-game road trip this weekend, is 5-3-0 as the home team this season.
11/07 10:59:52 ET