March 23, 2019 / 2:04 AM / a month ago

Wild move into wild-card spot with win over Caps

EditorsNote: rewords second and third grafs

Mar 22, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19) battles for the puck with Minnesota Wild center Eric Fehr (21) during the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Kunin scored with 7:35 remaining to give the visiting Minnesota Wild a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

The Wild forced a neutral-zone turnover and turned it into a mini-breakaway. Zach Parise then made a quick pass that sprung Kunin, who beat goalie Braden Holtby with a wrist shot for the 2-1 lead, and that held up for the Wild.

The win moved Minnesota, which had lost five of its previous six games, into the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Washington remains in first place in the Metropolitan Division and holds a three-point lead over the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Minnesota shut down the potent Capitals’ attack. The Wild outshot Washington 27-22 and limited the Capitals to the one goal.

Washington got 58 shots on goal in its previous game, a 5-4 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, but the Wild slowed the Capitals in this game. Washington could not find nearly as many scoring chances.

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk finished with 21 saves in the win while Holtby made 25 stops.

The Capitals also were hurt by the loss of defenseman Michal Kempny, injured during the second period of the loss to Tampa Bay.

Washington coach Todd Reirden told the media earlier that Kempny would be out for an indefinite period of time as more testing was being done on what appeared to be a leg or knee injury.

The Capitals acquired Kempny from Chicago late last season, and he became a big part of their run to the Stanley Cup. This season, he’s posted career highs in goals (six) and assists (19).

The Wild took a 1-0 lead in the first period thanks to a good individual effort from Jordan Greenway. He made his way through traffic along the right wing, quickly cut to the front of the crease and beat Holtby with 3:27 left in the period.

Washington tied it midway through the second period when Brett Connolly scored his 21st goal of the season. Connolly redirected a Nick Jensen shot past Dubnyk.

—Field Level Media

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