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game preview

Jets try to gain on Southeast-leading Capitals

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:52 AM

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Jets try to gain on Southeast-leading Capitals
Winnipeg Jets vs. Washington Capitals
JETS (25-24-6) at CAPITALS (28-24-4)

TV: TSN-Jets; CSN-MA (HD)

LAST 10: Winnipeg 4-5-1; Washington 4-4-2

Season Series: It's the fourth of six meetings this season. Winnipeg won 4-1 at home on Nov. 17, but the Caps have taken the last two, winning 4-3 in OT at home on Nov. 23 and 1-0 at the MTS Centre on Dec. 15

Big Story: The scramble is on for the Southeast Division title -- and with the possibility that the division winner may be the only club from the Southeast that finishes in the top eight in the East, this game becomes even more important. Washington leads the Southeast with 60 points, one more than Florida and four ahead of the Jets.

Team Scope:

Jets: Goals have been at a premium for the Jets, who've struggled all season to put the puck in the net. They managed only two against Toronto on Tuesday night -- but that was enough, as Ondrej Pavelec shut the door after Phil Kessel had put the Leafs ahead and made 17 saves in a 2-1 home win that the Jets had to have with a two-game trip to Washington and Pittsburgh coming up.

"We haven't been good on the road, but hopefully this win will kind of set things in motion," said center Bryan Little, whose second-period goal was the game winner. "We have another big road trip coming up, and we need these points. Every game is going to be important for us."

Capitals: Washington improved to 19-7-1 at the Verizon Center by getting an early jump on Florida and cruising to a 4-0 win on Tuesday night thanks to a pair of goals by Alex Ovechkin and 42 saves by Tomas Vokoun. The win moved Washington back on top in the division -- but with three teams bunched within four points, the Caps know they can't afford a bad night against the Jets.

"We've got another divisional foe coming in [Thursday]," forward Matt Hendricks told the team's website. "We need to be prepared and have a start like we did last time. I know it's not easy to get goals on the first shift, but I thought we had a lot of momentum early just by establishing a forecheck, doing the right things and keeping them on their heels."

Who's Hot: Little has goals in two of his last three games. … Ovechkin has three goals and five points in Washington's last four games. Vokoun has shutouts in two of his last three games.

Injury Report: Winnipeg is without forward Tim Stapleton (lower body). Center Kyle Wellwood is suffering from flu-like symptoms and is not on the trip, … Washington has been missing first-line center Nicklas Backstrom for more than a month due to a concussion and is still without its best defenseman, Mike Green, due to a groin injury.

Stat Pack: Winnipeg has been outscored by a combined 33-15 in its last 12 road contests. The Jets are 4-8-0 in those games, but just one of the four wins was in regulation. … The Jets' power play is 0-for-23 in Winnipeg's last nine road games. … There have been exactly three goals scored in each of the Jets' last seven games; they are 3-4-0 in that span. … Washington is 21-21-4 since opening the season with seven consecutive victories.

Puck Drop: Ovechkin's 31 goals and 65 points against the Jets' franchise (including his totals against the Atlanta Thrashers) are the most he's had in both categories against any opponent. He has a goal and an assist in the three meetings this season.

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 23 '12 WPG 4 at WSH 3 - OT T. Stapleton
Mar 16 '12 WSH 2 at WPG 3 D. Byfuglien
Feb 09 '12 WPG 3 at WSH 2 - SO B. Little
Dec 15 '11 WSH 1 at WPG 0 A. Ovechkin
Nov 23 '11 WPG 3 at WSH 4 - OT J. Chimera
Nov 17 '11 WSH 1 at WPG 4 E. Kane
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
B. Wheeler54102636+43562
E. Kane48191332+23543
K. Wellwood54102131+2421
A. Ladd56161228+03714
N. Antropov4881927+43220
D. Byfuglien4072027-105221
B. Little48131124-21434
Z. Bogosian5131720-64910
T. Enstrom3641519-22421
A. Burmistrov509918+03010
T. Stapleton377714-7442
J. Oduya5521113-53301
J. Slater528412-72701
T. Glass564812-64501
R. Hainsey32088+9600
M. Stuart54347-77801
M. Flood28336+1811
C. Thorburn55246-97000
A. Miettinen23033-7000
E. Fehr31112-61200
B. MacLean5022+1200
R. Jones22101-3600
M. Scheifele7101+0010
J. Jaffray13011-1700
A. Kulda9000+3400
K. McArdle9000-3400
A. Gagnon7000-1000
P. Cormier6000+0000
C. Klingberg6000-1400
B. Festerling5000-1200
B. Maxwell4000-2000
P. Postma3000+0000
D. Meech2000+1400
S. Machacek2000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
O. Pavelec4620-18-611813492.68.913
C. Mason156-6-0273092.26.913
P. Mannino10-0-0040.001.000
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
A. Ovechkin51232043-524101
N. Backstrom38132942-22234
D. Wideman54102838+12243
A. Semin50141933+54620
M. Johansson52111930+4613
B. Laich54101828-61442
T. Brouwer54151126-23735
J. Chimera54151025+24603
J. Carlson5461925-42020
M. Perreault369716+51603
J. Ward5351015+71800
J. Halpern5331013+01800
K. Alzner5411213+142500
M. Knuble533811-142400
C. Eakin29448+2400
D. Orlov36178-3401
M. Hendricks50347-17000
R. Hamrlik50167+02601
M. Green10336+1431
J. Schultz32055+2600
J. Erskine27022+35100
J. Beagle14011+01100
T. Kundratek5000+0200
K. Aucoin4000+0000
J. Rechlicz2000+0000
S. Collins2000-1000
D. King1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
T. Vokoun4022-13-29111412.45.920
M. Neuvirth206-8-3535003.08.894