Minnesota Wild vs Washington Capitals: Wild Take on Capitals in Inter-Conference Battle

Written by: Max Heering
Updated January 17, 2023
5 min read
  • The Minnesota Wild are 2-1-2 in their last five games.

  • The Washington Capitals have lost three of their last four games.

  • The Wild were 2-0-0 against the Capitals last season.

Minnesota Wild vs Washington Capitals Odds

Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.

Team

Spread

Total

Minnesota Wild

-1.5

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O 6

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Washington Capitals

+1.5

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U 6

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Minnesota Wild vs Washington Capitals  Predictions and Picks

Minnesota Wild beat Washington Capitals 3-2

Washington Capitals cover

Under 6 goals

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Wild vs Capitals Predictions

Head-to-Head: Minnesota Wild vs Washington Capitals 

Minnesota Wild

Head-to-Head

Washington Capitals

Dean Evason

Head Coach

Jon Cooper

24-14-4 (3rd in Central Division)

Standing

23-16-6 (4th in Metropolitan Division)


Leaders 


Kirill Kaprizov (52)

Points

Alex Ovechkin (49)

Kirill Kaprizov (25)

Goals

Alex Ovechkin (30)

Kirill Kaprizov (27)

Assists

Evgeny Kuznetsov (30)

Jared Spurgeon (18)

+/-

Dmitry Orlov (10)

Kirill Kaprizov (4.0)

Shots (Per Game)

Alex Ovechkin (4.4)

Minnesota Wild vs Washington Capitals Predictions and Picks

The Minnesota Wild will travel east to face the Washington Capitals for the first time this season. The Wild are in third place in the Central Division with 52 points. They will stay in that spot with a win or loss. On the other side, the Capitals are in the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference with 52 points. However, the New York Islanders are only three points away from them in the second Wild Card spot, and the New York Rangers are only three points above in the third-place spot. A win or overtime loss today would be pretty significant for Washington.

The Wild are have a bonafide star in Kirill Kaprizov, but outside of him, they do not have a ton of weapons. Their offense is strong at times but is average overall. Minnesota scores a little over three goals a game and has only scored five goals in their previous two games. Defensively, they are better and in the top ten. Minnesota allows less than 2.8 goals per game, so it is safe to say they are hard to score against.

The Wild’s offense is run through Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello. There are other players who also contribute, but these two do the most. Kaprizov is a menace on the ice and has 25 goals. Zuccarello is a little quieter, but still has 18 goals and 26 assists. If these two are at their best, the Capitals will have a rough night.

Marc-Andre Fleury and Filip Gustavsson make up the Wild’s goaltending duo. However, Gustavsson has performed better this season and is often a brick wall in the net. His .925 save percentage is the fourth-highest in the league.

There is a reason both of these teams have the same amount of points. The Capitals’ offense score just a little more than the Wild’s, and their defenses perform at nearly the same level. Washington’s goaltending might be a touch better, but it is not enough to give them the edge.

The Capitals’ are once again seeing tremendous production from Alex Ovechkin. With that being said, Washington is also seeing strong performances from Dylan Strome and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Strome and Kuznetsov do not score much but have 23 and 31 assists, respectively.

Darcy Kuemper is the #1 netminder in Washington and performing like it. Kuemper leads the NHL with four shutouts and has a .918 save percentage.

These teams’ numbers are about the same, but Minnesota has won their previous two games, while Washington has lost their previous two games. The Wild’s momentum (and Capital’s lack of momentum) should be enough to give them the victory.

Why Might the Minnesota Wild Win?

The Wild are the favorites but can improve their chances if they score first and draw penalties.

The Wild are on the road and heading into a hostile environment in Washington. The Capitals’ fans are not known for being loud, but they are also not quiet. However, Minnesota can silence the Capitals’ fans if they score first.

The Wild have a decent power play unit and convert a little over 23% of their power plays. That is not a great percentage, but it is better than most. This unit needs to get on the ice in this game. If they get on four times, they will likely score once.

Why Might the Washington Capitals Win?

The Capitals are the underdogs but can win if they slow down Kirill Kaprizov and have strong goaltending.

Kirill Kaprizov accounts for a large portion of the Wilds’ offense. His 25 goals and 27 assists lead this Minnesota team. Since he is so important to the Wild’s offense, the Capitals’ defensemen must prioritize him. If they take Kaprizov out of the picture, the Wild will struggle to score.

Filip Gustavsson will likely get the start in the net for the Capitals. He does not receive most of Minnesota’s starts but may work in that role. Regardless, he needs to bring his A-game tonight. The Wild have some momentum from their previous two victories, but Gustavsson can stop them dead in their tracks with a strong game.

Wild Key Players: (D) Matt Dumba 

Matt Dumba is not on the Wild’s first line, but he plays significant minutes on their second line. Dumba has a TOI of 21:13 and is heavily depended on by his team. He does not need to change anything in his game today. All he needs to do is be confident on the ice and step up when necessary.

Capitals Key Player: (LW) Alex Ovechkin

Is anyone surprised by this choice? Alex Ovechkin is in the back half of his career, but he still plays over 20 minutes a game and has 30 goals in 46 games. The 37-year-old is tied for the fourth-most goals in the NHL and needs to score today. He will be the Capital’s x-factor.

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How to Watch Minnesota Wild vs Washington Capitals 

  • What - Minnesota Wild vs Washington Capitals 

  • Where - Capital One Arena, Washington, DC

  • When - Tuesday, January 17, 7:00 PM EST

  • How to Watch - NHLPP, ESPN+

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Max Heering

Sports Betting Analyst

Expertise:
MLB
NHL
Betting Picks
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court.
Nationality: American
Education: Sports Management
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Experience:
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