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Game Preview: Jets @ Capitals

The Jets wrap up their two game road trip against the Washington Capitals, Tuesday.

Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 9:38 AM CT / Preview
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Game Preview: Jets @ Capitals
The Jets wrap up their two game road trip against the Washington Capitals in a crucial battle for the division lead.

With the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets eying the playoffs amid red-hot stretches to end the regular season, Tuesday night's clash at the Verizon Center is monumental for both clubs.

Washington can clinch the Southeast Division title with a victory, which would in turn be a crucial blow for Winnipeg's chances.

The Capitals (25-18-2) have won 13 of their last 16 and sit a point ahead of the Jets (24-19-3), who have won six of seven and trail Ottawa and the Rangers by a point for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington also has a game in hand on Winnipeg.

Alex Ovechkin scored two goals in the Capitals' 5-1 win at Montreal on Sunday in their road finale, and now has 10 in his last eight games. Troy Brouwer also remained hot with two goals, pushing his total to six over the last five contests.

"I'm pretty happy I scored some goals and we won the game," said Ovechkin, who has scored at least 30 goals in each of his eight seasons and eyes his third Rocket Richard Trophy as the league's top goal-scorer. "But we still have three games left to play and the next one is the biggest game of the year."

The Jets appeared to have little chance in the playoff race not long ago, but they've followed a five-game skid with a 6-0-1 stretch. They hadn't gone seven straight with a point since another 6-0-1 run from Nov. 22-Dec. 5, 2006, when they were the Atlanta Thrashers.

Antti Miettinen scored with 7:36 left to lift Winnipeg to a 2-1 win at Buffalo on Monday, the first time during the point streak the Jets had scored fewer than four goals.

They took little time to enjoy the victory, however, with a clear focus on taking a step toward the franchise's second postseason appearance.

"This game means nothing now," said Evander Kane, third on Winnipeg with 32 points. "We needed this game in order to make something of (Tuesday). (Tuesday is) the biggest game of our season."

Washington has scored five goals in three of its last four games and its power play continues to click. The Capitals have seven goals on 21 chances over their last five and also haven't allowed a man-advantage goal in four games while killing off all 13 of their opponents' chances.

The Jets have won four of the teams' last five meetings in Washington, including the season's first meeting. The Capitals won three in Winnipeg after that while outscoring the Jets 13-1.

Washington is 2 for 16 on power-play opportunities in the season series while Winnipeg is 3 for 14.

"It's their season and it's our season," Capitals defenseman Jack Hillen told the team's official website. "It's a playoff game (Tuesday). I expect the building to be rocking, the fans to be rocking. I think it's going to be one of those games that you relish as a player, one of those fun games.

"Throughout the course of the regular season, sometimes there are games where you've just got to get your body up and get through them. But this is one of those games where you're ready for it; you're up."

Ovechkin had seven points in the first four meetings and has 76 in 52 career games against the Jets/Thrashers franchise.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 74 44 24 6 209 172 94
5 MIN 75 43 25 7 215 185 93
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 75 40 28 7 219 199 87
10 DAL 75 36 29 10 232 240 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 75 22 40 13 181 254 57
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Ladd 75 24 35 11 59
B. Wheeler 73 24 34 24 58
B. Little 65 24 27 10 51
M. Scheifele 75 14 32 10 46
D. Byfuglien 66 16 27 7 43
M. Frolik 75 17 23 4 40
D. Stafford 69 16 24 -14 40
M. Perreault 56 18 18 3 36
J. Tlusty 65 14 15 -18 29
T. Myers 65 7 18 -9 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
O. Pavelec 19 14 7 .919 2.35
M. Hutchinson 20 10 5 .913 2.43
 
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