It was an exciting night for Jared Spurgeon and the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, as Spurgeon earned his first two-goal game since last April to propel the Wild to a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena.
His first goal came in the first minute of the second period, tying up the game at 1-1, and his second came late in that same period, giving Minnesota their first lead of the evening. With three second-period goals from their defensemen, the Wild were able to keep their lead and secure their victory over Washington despite a strong third-period effort from the Caps.
The Wild squad moves to 25-24-4 for this NHL season while this marks the third loss of Washington in four games and moves to a 24-17-6 record.
Filip Gustavsson Secures the Win for Minnesota
The Wild played a tricky game and were able to keep the Caps at bay with Filip Gustavsson’s 34 saves. Despite their attempts to stay in the game, Washington was stymied by three goals in the second period that all shared some key characteristics.
Each goal came from a defenseman, was screened by traffic in front of the net, and came on an extended shift in Capitals territory where they just weren’t able to gain possession. Even Capitals coach Peter Laviolette recognized that this was Wild’s night.
“There were two or three shifts there in the second period where they had extended [offensive] zone time,” says coach Laviolette. “We still kept it to the outside for the most part, but their shots had eyes tonight and ours didn’t. They found the back of the net tonight and we couldn’t.”
Caps Need a Rest
Despite being seemingly the more fatigued team heading into Tuesday’s game, the Caps rose to the challenge and put forth a valiant effort. Despite having played a game only a day before and playing their fifth in eight nights, they put up a good fight and rarely appeared exhausted or worn down. It was an impressive showing considering their difficult schedule.
Though this loss marks their third regulation loss in four games, Washington still has time to turn things around. The Capitals even had early control but failed to out-score the Wild down the stretch.
“We clearly didn’t start on time,” says Wild coach Dean Evason. “We talked about that this morning, that they were probably going to roll in with some momentum after what they did last night. And they did, and we didn’t handle it very well. Fortunately, our goaltender did. He started on time.”
The Capitals will have a one-day break and will head to Arizona to visit the Coyotes on Thursday.