(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets are hoping to break even on a six-game homestand, but a visit from a former division rival makes that a tough task on Tuesday night when the Washington Capitals come to MTS Centre.
The Jets have played a league-high seven home games already this season, going 3-4-0. They are 2-3-0 on their current residency after a 3-1 setback to the Nashville Predators on Sunday.
The Preds scored all three of their goals in the second period and the Jets did not get on the board until Evander Kane's fifth goal of the season with 10:47 to play. Ondrej Pavelec made 23 saves in defeat, Winnipeg's fifth in seven games overall.
The Jets outshot the Predators 39-26, but head coach Claude Noel felt his club didn't make Nashville backup goaltender Carter Hutton, who started the game, work hard enough with second- and third-shot chances.
"You can't just play to play and there were periods of time for me that we played to play; certainly the first half of the game, we just played to play. ... You have to be more emotionally connected to the game than just playing to play, and we're not getting enough," said Noel.
Winnipeg will need to fully focus on this contest given that it has been outscored 13-1 over three straight home setbacks to Washington.
The Capitals won four of their final five meetings with the Jets last season by an 18-4 margin, recording a pair of shutouts in Winnipeg against the former Southeast Division rivals.
However, these clubs will meet just twice this season after realignment put the Caps in the newly-created Metropolitan Division, while the Jets shifted to the Western Conference and the Central Division.
Washington had lost four of five its previous with a 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers last Wednesday, but bounced back on Saturday with a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Braden Holtby had 37 saves, while Alex Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer, Brooks Laich and Joel Ward all scored to give the Caps a 2-3-1 record on a a five-game homestand.
Tonight's contest begins a five-game road trip for Washington.
"We did some good things. We did," noted Capitals head coach Adam Oates. "It still doesn't have the feeling of last year in the second half of the year. It doesn't. I still think we have too many breakdowns in our own end, but I'm glad the guys got a win. It's been a tough homestand."
Martin Erat capped the residency with his first three-assist game since Dec. 4, 2010. He had gone 11 straight games without a point dating back to last season.
"It's nice to have a good game but in the end it's about getting the win," said Erat. "We have a good effort out here tonight and it was nice to get these two points."
Holtby is 4-2-0 with two shutouts and a 2.14 goals against average in six career meetings with the Jets, while Pavelec has gone 9-13-1 with a pair of shutouts and a 2.87 GAA in 25 meetings with Washington.