Ovechkin hadn’t scored in 10 games or had an even-strength goal in 18 before firing a one-timer by league save percentage leader Devan Dubnyk in the second period. Ovechkin’s 28th goal of the season came 1 second after a power play expired.
Nate Schmidt, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jay Beagle also scored for the NHL-leading Capitals, who recaptured sole possession of first in the Metropolitan Division.
Goaltender Braden Holtby put on a show, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced as the Capitals won for the first time since March 4 and moved two points up on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Minnesota lost for the fifth time in seven games despite goals from Matt Dumba and Eric Staal and 36 saves by Dubnyk.
Trailing 3-0 entering the third period, the Wild made things interesting with two goals in the first 5 minutes. Dumba, who took penalties in the opening moments of the first and second periods, was the beneficiary of a turnover by Ovechkin behind the net, and Staal tied Mikael Granlund for the team lead in goals with his 23rd of the season.
When Washington’s three-goal lead shrunk to one, it was Beagle to the rescue. The fourth-line center sniped a wrist shot past Dubnyk with 5:41 left, his first goal in 16 games.
While Beagle hadn’t scored since Feb. 4, Ovechkin’s goal was his first since Feb. 19. Former coach Bruce Boudreau, who was behind the bench for 197 regular-season and 25 playoff goals by Ovechkin, predicted Monday that the Russian superstar was “going to get out of it one day” and hoped it wasn’t against his Wild.
The Capitals took seven of the 12 minor penalties in the whistle-happy game, allowing Staal’s goal on the power play and getting one of their own on Kuznetsov’s in the second period. Washington’s Tom Wilson, playing in his 300th NHL game, got an instigator penalty and 10-minute misconduct as part of his fight with Ryan White.
NOTES: Washington’s four-game skid was its worst stretch since November 2015. … Capitals D Kevin Shattenkirk served the second of his two-game suspension for charging. Schmidt was only in the lineup because Shattenkirk was out. … Wild C Martin Hanzal missed the game with strep throat.
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