March 19, 2015

Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo is remaining positive amid the longest home losing streak in club history, even though snapping it against the NHL's best team won't be easy.

The sinking Wild figure to be hard-pressed to end their six-game home slide when they meet Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby and the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

Minnesota (23-20-10) established its worst home losing streak at 0-3-3 with Tuesday's 4-3 overtime defeat to Dallas. It's part of a 1-9-2 overall stretch for Yeo's club.

The coach said his message to the team remains upbeat.

"We're not all about moral victories, and we're not all about trying to just point out the positives, and deflect against what's real, but the truth of the matter is that's the only way out of this," Yeo told the Wild's official website.

Not too many teams have obtained positive results against Washington (39-9-4), winner of four straight after opening this three-game trip with Tuesday's 5-3 victory over Nashville. Holtby made 23 saves, giving him a 26-1-3 mark and 2.11 GAA in his last 31 starts.

Ovechkin scored into an empty net for his 31st goal - one off the NHL-leading total held by Chicago's Patrick Kane. Four other Capitals scored, with Marcus Johansson registering a goal and two assists.

"I've said it a million times, we get different performances from different guys, big performances on every night," Holtby said.

Johansson returned to the Washington lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury. He has 13 points in his last 11.

"It's good to be back and there's nothing better than coming back and being a part of winning a game," he said.

Another unheralded Washington skater contributing is Andre Burakovsky, who has six goals and four assists in an eight-game point streak.

The Capitals are averaging league bests of 3.3 goals overall and 3.7 since the start of January. The Wild are averaging 1.9 goals since the start of 2016 for the league's second-worst mark.

Zach Parise leads Minnesota with 17 goals, but has none in this overall 0-4-2 slide. None of Thomas Vanek's 14 goals have come in his last nine games.

The Wild look to avoid losing seven straight for the first time since an 0-5-2 stretch in 2011-12. Yeo feels his team is trending in the right direction after enjoying double-digit shot advantages in its last two games.

"If we can stay strong, and if we can continue to get stronger in our game, and if we continue to out-chance and outshoot teams, then we will win," he said.

Defenseman Jared Spurgeon could return after sitting out Tuesday with a deep bruise.

Devan Dubnyk has gone 0-7-1 with a 2.73 GAA in his last eight starts and 2-2-0 with a 3.27 GAA in four career matchups with Washington.

Minnesota has scored on the power play in four straight games to match a season best. Washington is 1 for 20 with the man advantage in its last six contests.

The Caps won 3-2 at Minnesota on March 19 after going 0-6-1 in their first seven road games in the series.

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