St. Paul, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Suter notched the first hat trick of his career and first ever for a Minnesota defenseman as the Wild took a 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday.
"I can't even score two in summer hockey. I can't get the smile off my face," said Suter of setting a new franchise mark.
Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter scored the other goals for the Wild, who have won their past two. Niklas Backstrom allowed three goals on 27 shots.
Mike Green scored twice while Marcus Johansson also lit the lamp for the Capitals, who tied their season-high with a fourth straight loss. Braden Holtby allowed all five goals on just 11 shots in the loss.
"We played a good hockey team and shut them down," said Washington forward Brooks Laich. "They only got 11 shots on net and it's confusing what happened. That's not going to happen very often."
Washington got on the board on the power play at 12:02 of the first as Alex Ovechkin threw a shot on net from the left point and Johansson stuffed home the rebound, and it was a 2-0 game just 13 seconds later on Green's quick wrister from the right circle.
Minnesota made it a 2-1 game just 2:16 into the second on Niederreiter's wrist shot from the left circle, and tied it on a 5-on-3 as Suter's shot from the high slot found the back of the net at 6:56.
Still skating on the power play, Suter got his second of the game just 42 seconds later when his shot from nearly the same spot made its way through several bodies in front.
Green's second of the game came from a right circle faceoff win as he threw a shot on net from the right point that trickled in at 13:50, but the Wild took the lead into the second intermission when Zucker tucked home a rebound from the right side while on the power play at 17:04.
Suter capped the hat trick at 7:37 of the third on a 2-on-1 break as he took a Clayton Stoner pass at the left circle and beat Holtby with a wrister for his fifth of the season.