Late start tonight (8:00 my time), but I'm off tomorrow so as soon as I finish this post it's eat, nap, and hopefully wake before game time for me...
Preview: Capitals at Wild
Washington looks to build on lead for first place in NHL; Minnesota 1-7-1 in past nine games
by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent
CAPITALS (49-17-8) at WILD (44-24-7)
8 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-N, CSN-DC, NHL.TV
Capitals team scope
The Washington Capitals lead the Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins by three points -- with a game in hand on the Penguins -- for first place in the Metropolitan Division and the NHL (they also lead the Chicago Blackhawks by three points in the Presidents' Trophy race). The Capitals have won four straight and five of their past six (5-0-1). "You [have to] be in the moment," coach Barry Trotz said. "The moment is we got a big game against the Minnesota Wild … Every point matters, so let's just have a shift to shift focus, game to game focus and compete at a real high level." Goaltender Braden Holtby will start and could earn his 40th win for a third straight season. "It means we have success as a team," Holtby said. "[It means] we're going to be in the playoffs. It shows consistency … It's just one of those goals that you can set at the start of the year and try to get there." Forward Alex Ovechkin needs one goal to tie Johnny Bucyk (556) for 26th place on the NHL's all-time scoring list.
Wild team scope
The Wild have lost three straight, are 1-7-1 in their past nine games, and sit eight points behind the Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference. "We're playing the best team in the League," coach Bruce Boudreau said, "and if you look at it as 'Uh-oh we're playing the best team in the League' instead of as, 'Man, what a challenge, we're playing the best team in the League,' if you embrace that instead of shy away from it I think you usually have a better chance at success." Goaltender Devan Dubnyk will start. Dubnyk is 1-5-1 with an .875 save percentage in his past eight games.
Capitals projected lineup
Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams
Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner -- John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik -- Kevin Shattenkirk
Scratched: Taylor Chorney, Nate Schmidt, Paul Carey
Wild projected lineup
Charlie Coyle -- Eric Staal -- Zach Parise
Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund
Nino Niederreiter -- Martin Hanzal -- Jason Pominville
Chris Stewart -- Erik Haula -- Ryan White
Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella -- Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin -- Nate Prosser
Scratched: Jordan Schroeder, Christian Folin
Injured: Victor Bartley (arm)
The Capitals and Wild are expected to use the same lineups from their previous games.
Ovechkin has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past seven games. … Backstrom has 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in his past seven games. … Oshie has six points (four goals, two assists) in his past four games. … Staal has 10 points (seven goals, three assists) in his past 10 games. … Parise has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past six games.