source NHL.com article WOLCEN, Colo.
— There was a time when the only thing that could beat the Wild in the Western Conference was a team from the East.
Now the only things that can beat the Capitals are a team that wins the Stanley War.
The Capitals are coming off a 4-3 win in Game 5 of their Western Conference Final, the first time they’ve ever lost in seven straight games.
And they have a chance to repeat the feat with a Game 6 on Sunday in front of a crowd of 20,965 at Verizon Center.
The Avalanche are a playoff team and have won their past four games.
But the Capitals will be coming off an 11-3 loss in Game 4.
And the Capitals, who are one game behind for the second wild card, have lost four straight.
They’re coming off their third loss in five games.
The Penguins are coming into this game in second place in the Metropolitan Division, three points ahead of the Capitals.
And that’s only if they win.
The Capitals and Penguins haven’t played in four games, and the Capitals have won six of their past seven meetings overall.
The Wild, who have won five straight, are trying to stay within touching distance of their second Wild Card in three years.
But they’re losing.
The Wild are tied with the Colorado Avalanche for the first wild card in the Eastern Conference.
The Caps are also one point behind the Capitals for the top seed in the conference, but their goal differential has improved to plus-12, compared to minus-9.
The Penguins are up one point and up one from the Capitals in the standings.
And the Wild, which has won four straight, have been without top scorer Justin Fontaine for the past three games with a strained right knee.
Fontaine had two goals in the second period, but the Capitals outshot the Wild 12-4 in the third period to take a 3-2 lead.
The Panthers, who trail the Capitals by three points with two games in hand, are on a four-game win streak and have four players scoring in double figures.
They’ve won four in a row in the series, including a 6-1 win in Washington on Nov. 3.
And of course there’s a lot of emotion surrounding the game, because this is the first game of the Stanley Trophy Final for the Capitals since 2005.
The winner will advance to face the winner of the Presidents’ Trophy between Washington and New York.
And if you missed the latest news on the Capitals and Wild, you can follow our recap on NHL.org.