ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Marcus Johansson scored twice against his former team, Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno each had a goal and an assist, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Washington Capitals 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Eleven players had points for the Wild, including a goal from Brock Faber, and Filip Gustavsson made 31 saves for his third straight win.
Minnesota has won three in a row and four of five after losing eight of nine.
“We’re not giving the other team too many easy chances. I think the games before that we maybe gave up a little bit too much,” Eriksson Ek said. “Now they have to work for it more, so it’s just a more solid game for us right now.”
Anthony Mantha scored twice and T.J. Oshie once for the punchless Capitals. Washington has lost four of seven, scoring more than two goals in just three of those games.
Blanked on Saturday in St. Louis, the Capitals average 2.36 goals per game, third-worst in the NHL, ahead of only Chicago and San Jose.
“We’re kind of trying to create plays that aren’t really there. Creating too many turnovers against and it’s costing us right now,” Mantha said.
Scoring has not been a problem for Faber.
The NHL scoring leader among rookie defensemen, Faber put the Wild on the board 97 seconds into the game by pinching in and converting a lively carom off the end boards. With points in five straight games — two goals and five assists — Faber has the longest scoring streak by a first-year defenseman in team history.
“Pretty lucky bounce. But yeah, just kind of laying on my stick, so it worked out. That’s always fun when you get one like that,” he said.
Nearly three minutes later, Foligno leaped to catch Matt Boldy’s shot that deflected off a defenseman’s stick, dropped the puck in the crease and quickly swatted it home for a 2-0 lead.
Darcy Kuemper, who finished with 25 saves for Washington, had almost no chance on either goal.
Capitals coach Spencer Carbery said his team has talked all season about having better starts.
“Low-scoring team and a team that doesn’t score a bunch 5-on-5, that puts us in a really difficult spot right out of the gate,” he said.
Johansson made it 3-0 early in the second with a wrister from the left dot that Kuemper will probably want back. Mantha redirected Evgeny Kuznetsov’s feed at the 10-minute mark to get Washington within two.
Eriksson Ek made it 4-1 early in the third with his 20th goal, a mark he’s reached in three straight seasons. Since ending a 10-game goal drought and scoring once in 16 games, the team’s top goal scorer has five goals and five assists during a five-game point streak.
“He’s a beast,” Foligno said. “He’s been so good, 5-on-5, power play, penalty kill — he does it all. He’s one of our best, if not our best, players every night and he leads by example.”
Johansson put Minnesota up 5-1 with less than seven minutes remaining before Oshie and Mantha scored 1:21 apart late.
Washington’s Alex Ovechkin was held without a goal for the seventh straight game, nor did he have an assist. He entered with 37 points, including 19 goals, in 22 career games against the Wild, having registered a point in every game he has played in Minnesota dating to Oct. 12, 2006, the longest stretch in his career against a single franchise.
Capitals: Play at Colorado on Wednesday.
Wild: Will host Nashville on Thursday.
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