(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals have a chance to grab a share of third place in the Metropolitan Division on Thursday night when they try to beat the Wild for the first time ever in Minnesota.
The Capitals have won two straight to get within two points of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metro standings. They have played one more game than the Pens, who visit the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
Washington also owns a seven-point edge for a wild card spot after topping the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in a shootout on Monday. The Caps trailed 2-1 after the first period and then let up a game-tying goal with 6:10 left in regulation before Evgeny Kuznetsov got his team the extra point by scoring the lone shootout tally.
Braden Holtby stopped 30 shots through overtime and was perfect in the tiebreaker against a pesky Sabres club.
"We just couldn't get rid of them," said Washington coach Barry Trotz.
Kuznetsov, Mike Green and Curtis Glencross scored in regulation for the Caps, while defenseman Matt Niskanen notched two assists.
Holtby is 2-2-0 with a 2.24 goals against average, .914 save percentage and one shutout in four career meetings with the Wild, who have never lost at home versus the Capitals. Washington is 0-6-1 in seven trips to Minnesota since the Wild became an NHL franchise.
The red-hot Wild also have won two in a row overall against the Capitals, picking up a 2-1 win at Washington on March 5. Jason Pominville scored twice in the win, Zach Parise assisted on both tallies and Devan Dubnyk made 24 saves.
Glencross had Washington's goal and Holtby posted 28 saves as the Caps were minus the NHL's leading goal-scorer Alex Ovechkin due to injury.
The Wild's win over the Capitals is part of a current 8-2-0 run that recently saw the club top the Nashville Predators 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday night. Defenseman Matt Dumba put home the winner 22 seconds into the bonus frame.
Charlie Coyle scored a pair of goals in regulation, including the game-tying goal with 6:41 to play, and Dubnyk made 25 saves in his 28th straight start with the Wild since being acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes.
"It's nice to know we have that fight in us," said Coyle.
The Wild are seven points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for third place in the Central Division and are three points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets for the first wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Dubnyk is 21-5-1 with a 1.67 GAA, .939 save percentage and five shutouts with the Wild. He is 2-1-0 in three starts against Washington, posting a 3.34 GAA and .886 save percentage.
Capitals forward Michael Latta is in line to return tonight from an upper-body injury that has sidelined him for the past six games, while defenseman Brooks Orpik could play for the first time in five contests as he recovers from a lower-body ailment.