Matt Boldy had two whacks at a hat trick with about half a period left and came up empty-handed on both.
Don't miss again, he thought while barreling into Capitals territory during a breakaway later in the third.
Boldy postmarked a glove-side shot for the back of the net for his second NHL hat trick, the highlight in a 5-3 win for the Wild on Sunday afternoon in front of 19,231 at Xcel Energy Center that made Boldy a first-time 20-goal scorer.
"Almost looked like he was trying to throw it through the net," coach Dean Evason said of the second-year winger, who was denied a fourth goal when his heave at an empty net smacked into the post. "That's what we need him to do."
Not only did the Wild reset after having their franchise-record 14-game point streak snapped on Saturday in a loss to Boston, they reclaimed the second seed in the Central Division and are only one point back of No. 1 Dallas with 12 games left while getting Jonas Brodin and Brandon Duhaime back from injury and Jake Middleton returned from illness.
Overall, the Wild are up to 40 victories and are 12-1-3 in their last 16.
"Sometimes when you go on a streak like that and then you lose one, it's easy sometimes to slump," said Ryan Reaves, who scored his third goal in four games. "I think it was important to make sure that we didn't."
The Wild established a businesslike tone early, with Boldy scoring his first of the game only 50 seconds into the first period when he gobbled up a Marcus Johansson rebound.
On his very next shot, Boldy polished off a give-and-go with Johansson at 4:36 to continue their strong play together since Johansson was acquired in a trade from Washington last month.
"They've got a chemistry, for sure," Evason said.
In nine games together, Boldy has six goals and five assists while Johansson has picked up two goals and six assists. Boldy has nine points during a five-game point streak that's tied for his longest of the season. As for Johansson, this was his second straight multi-point performance and third overall with the Wild; he has seven points in his last five games.
"Just how good he is at making plays, he puts you in spots where you have to shoot it," Boldy said of Johansson, who left the game early after getting hit by a Frederick Gaudreau shot but was fine. "There's really no option because he's just so good at finding space and finding areas to put pucks. So it definitely makes it easier."
Alex Ovechkin capitalized twice on the power play for Washington (2-for-4), the first his patented one-timer 5:34 into the second period. But Reaves recalibrated the Wild with his deflection at 10:14; that was his fifth point in the last four games.
The Wild's next goal, a rising backhander from Duhaime 3:46 into the third period, ended up being the clincher in a third period that turned feisty after Matt Dumba checked Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Ovechkin notched his 39th of the season and No. 819 in his career at 12:33 and after Boldy's third tally at 13:58, Dylan Strome pounced on a loose puck in the crease with 3:34 to go.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 33 shots while extending his win streak to seven, and Lakeville's Charlie Lindgren made 35 saves.
Despite blanking on three power plays, the Wild racked up five goals or more for the third time in five games without the injured Kirill Kaprizov.
During that time, Boldy has the second-most shots on the Wild with 17.
Boldy, who has a career-high 22 goals, 29 assists and 51 points, is the seventh Wild player to record multiple hat tricks. He's only the second in team history to net 20 goals before 22 years old and just the third different skater to reach 50 points before that age.
"We're creating enough chances to score a lot of goals and as long as you do that, that's a good thing," said Johansson, who also played for the Wild in 2021. "Right now they're going in, so you got to enjoy it and build off of it."