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Game Preview: Jets @ Capitals

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

Tuesday, 23.04.2013 / 10:38 AM / 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.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 64 41 16 7 192 155 89
2 ANA 64 40 17 7 189 177 87
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 WPG 64 32 20 12 179 172 76
6 VAN 62 36 23 3 180 167 75
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
9 LAK 62 29 21 12 166 162 70
10 SJS 64 31 25 8 179 181 70
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 63 27 26 10 196 210 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Ladd 64 22 30 14 52
B. Little 64 24 27 11 51
B. Wheeler 62 17 29 14 46
D. Byfuglien 64 15 27 8 42
M. Perreault 56 18 18 3 36
M. Scheifele 64 10 26 3 36
M. Frolik 64 13 20 4 33
D. Stafford 58 11 17 -19 28
J. Tlusty 54 13 11 -18 24
E. Kane 37 10 12 -1 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Hutchinson 19 7 5 .919 2.29
O. Pavelec 13 13 7 .909 2.60
 
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