SAINT PAUL, Minn. — The Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild each hope to rebound from disappointing overtime losses heading into their game Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.
Both teams left the ice on Tuesday night feeling they had outplayed their opponent but came away with just a point to show for it.
Ottawa (41-25-9) fell on the road to the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in a shootout and lost for the sixth time in eight games (2-3-3) to fall four points behind the first-place Montreal Canadiens in the Atlantic Division race.
Flyers center Jordan Weal not only scored the shootout winner but also tied the game late in the third when he pick-pocketed Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson behind the net and beat Anderson to the crease for an easy goal.
“It should have never gotten to the shootout and that’s the bottom line,” said Anderson, who finished with 33 saves. “It was a horrible read by me and our guys deserved better than that. It’s just too risky, I should know better.”
The Senators saw a pair of one-goal leads evaporate quickly and led the Flyers for only 3:35 in the contest.
“We had the game at 2-1,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said. “If there’s no mistake, it stays 2-1 and everybody’s happy. But we’re not going to look at this as, ‘Oh, our goalie made this gigantic mistake.’ It happens. For all the saves he’s made this year, and all the times he’s made us win a game, he gave us a point tonight.”
Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson’s 15th goal in the first period gave him a team-high 68 points to move him within four of Norris Trophy favorite Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks.
Minnesota, meanwhile, limited the explosive Washington Capitals to just 20 shots on goal — 13 at even-strength — and rallied with a pair of goals in the final 4:57 to force overtime.
With goaltender Devan Dubnyk pulled for an extra attacker, Wild center Eric Staal scored his team-leading 27th goal to tie the game with 26.6 seconds left.
Staal has 11 points (8 goals, 3 assists) in the Wild’s last 11 contests.
But T.J. Oshie scored his second of the game in overtime and Alex Ovechkin had three power-play goals to give the Capitals a tough 5-4 win on the road.
Not only did the Wild lose the game, they also lost top-line winger Zach Parise to an upper-body injury when he took a high-stick by Washington’s Tom Wilson in the first period and his head collided with Jay Beagle’s leg as he fell to the ice.
“His eye looks pretty black and blue, but he can see and he’s fine as far as that goes,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. “A little sore in his upper body, but I don’t think he’s going to be out for a long period of time.”
Although Boudreau wouldn’t tip his hand, rookie Joel Eriksson Ek is a strong candidate to fill Parise’s spot in the lineup against the Senators. Minnesota’s 2015 first-round pick, the 20-year-old Eriksson Ek was recalled on Tuesday from Farjestad BK of the Swedish Elite League.
“I’m glad to be back,” Eriksson Ek told the team’s website on Wednesday. “Hopefully I can bring my game. If I’m playing, I’ll do the best I can.”
Eriksson Ek, who practiced with the Wild on Wednesday, registered two goals and three assists in nine games for the Wild to start the season before he was returned to Sweden.
“He’s been a great player in Europe and he was good here for us early on,” Boudreau said. “I think when he plays for us, he’ll be good again.”
Minnesota also recalled goaltender Alex Stalock from its AHL affiliate in Iowa on Wednesday afternoon and announced that the former University of Minnesota-Duluth star will make his Wild debut against the Senators.
It is expected that Wild backup goaltender Darcy Kuemper will be a healthy scratch and Dubnyk will serve as the backup to Stalock, who is 20-16-7 with a 2.31 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in 45 games for Iowa.
Stalock, whose last NHL start came on Feb. 11, 2016, for San Jose, is 24-19-7 with a 2.37 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage and four shutouts in 62 career NHL games during parts of five seasons with the Sharks (2010-16).
The Wild (44-24-8) are safely in second place in the Central Division, nine point behind the Chicago Blackhawks and seven ahead of the Nashville Predators.
Thursday’s game marks the second and final meeting of the season between Minnesota and the Senators, with the Wild skating to a 2-1 win in Ottawa on Nov. 13 thanks to defenseman Matt Dumba’s overtime winner.
Less than two months after Minnesota seemingly had a firm grasp on the top spot in the Central Division and Western Conference, the Wild have lost four straight and carry a 3-10-2 March record into Thursday’s game.
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