WASHINGTON (AP) -- The return of an old friend has lifted Peter Bondra's spirits and boosted his game.
Dmitri Khristich assisted on Bondra's second-period goal as the Washington Capitals beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 Thursday night.
Bondra, who wants to be traded, is rekindling some old magic with Khristich, acquired by the Capitals earlier this week in a deal with Toronto. Khristich already has a goal and two assists since his return to Washington.
"We played together for five years, same line," Bondra said. "He's my good friend. I was really excited the night they called me and told me they got Dmitri."
The Capitals have tried to deal Bondra, but they might have to wait until the trade deadline late in the season. A top scorer who wants out can be a distraction to his team, but Bondra has played well and leads the club with 11 goals.
The trade for Khristich, his roommate on road trips during the early 1990s, makes life more bearable.
"They were old friends before," Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig said. "They worked so well together when he was here. It gives Bonzai a little more comfort zone. He's been a professional about things. Obviously, now with Dmitri here, who knows? Maybe he'll change his mind and decide to stick around."
Bondra didn't go that far, but he left open the possibility that things could be worked out.
"I'm not saying my future's not here. I'm happy here. We're playing well," Bondra said.
That part is true. The Capitals have won eight of 10 and are above the .500 mark (12-11-6-1) for the first time this season. Last season, they didn't have a winning record until Jan. 16 -- yet they went on to win the Southeast Division.
"We don't have to make quite as hard a push as we did last year," Kolzig said. "It is definitely nice to look in the standings and be over .500. When teams lose to us, they lose to a team that's over .500. It's a little respectability."
Kolzig made 28 saves against the Wild, improving to 8-1 in his last nine starts. Washington's Sergei Gonchar also scored in the second period.
Aaron Gavey scored in the third for Minnesota.
Adam Oates assisted on both Capitals goals, despite getting a bloody nose from a puck in the face between the two scores. Oates was behind the net when he fed Gonchar at 7:11 of the second period, then passed to Bondra for a one-timer from the blue line on a power play at 16:19.
Oates has a team-high 16 assists. Gonchar's goal was his fifth of the season.
The Wild scored 1:42 into the third. Lubomir Sekeras intercepted a weak clearing pass near the blue line and passed to Gavey, who was given plenty of room to move into the left circle for a clear shot at Kolzig. It was Gavey's third goal of the season.
Minnesota's Stacy Roest hit the post midway through the third period. But the Wild, who have scored a league-low 61 goals, essentially lost the game when they failed to convert any of their 2-on-1 breaks early in the game.
"It gets frustrating, but you have to just keep plugging away," Roest said. "If the chances weren't coming, then you'd really be worried. But the chances are there."
Notes: The Capitals have won six in a row at home, tying St. Louis and Colorado for the longest home winning streak this season. ... It was the first meeting between the teams. The Capitals are 5-3-1 in first games against expansion teams since 1991. They lost 3-1 to Columbus in October. ... Having played the night before at home, the Wild rested goalie Manny Fernandez. Jamie McLennan started, and his record fell to 1-12-3. ... Oates was bleeding profusely when he was struck in the nose, but he returned just 1:02 later.
Minnesota 0 0 1 -- 1
Washington 0 2 0 -- 2
First Period--None. Penalties--Dowd, Min (hooking), 11:13; Halpern, Was (holding), 13:02.
Second Period--1, Washington, Gonchar 5 (Oates, Simon), 7:11. 2, Washington, Bondra 11 (Oates, Khristich), 16:19 (pp). Penalty--O'Donnell, Min (roughing), 14:44.
Third Period--3, Minnesota, Gavey 3 (Sekeras, Hendrickson), 1:42. Penalties--Kuba, Min (tripping), 18:38; Oates, Was (ob.-hooking), 19:48.
Shots on goal--Minnesota 7-13-9--29. Washington 4-12-4--20.
Power-play Opportunities--Minnesota 0 of 1; Washington 1 of 3.
Goalies--Minnesota, McLennan 1-12-3 (20 shots-18 saves). Washington, Kolzig 12-9-4 (29-28).
Referees--Mark Faucette, Rob Martell. Linesmen--Gord Broseker, Steve Miller.
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