Caps hope to stay in first as they battle Jets
The first-place Washington Capitals will try to post consecutive wins for the first time in over three weeks when they host the Winnipeg Jets tonight at Verizon Center.
The Capitals posted a big win Tuesday against visiting Florida, as the 4-0 victory allowed Washington to vault one point ahead of the Panthers for first place in the Southeast Division. Even though the Caps are leading the Southeast, the club would like to go on a run since it hasn't posted back-to- back victories since a three-game run from Jan. 11-15.
Washington used Alex Ovechkin's first points since serving a three-game suspension in late January to notch the win over Florida. Ovechkin scored twice to give him 22 goals on the season and Tomas Vokoun made 42 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and 48th of his career.
Mathieu Perreault and Jason Chimera also scored for the Capitals, who are 3-3-2 in their last eight games. Perreault scored just 13 seconds into the game and Ovechkin's first tally made it 2-0 before the end of the opening period.
"We got two quick goals on them and they had to play a different game," said Caps head coach Dale Hunter. "It ended up being the advantage for us."
Tonight's tilt marks the close of a three-game homestand for Washington, which is 19-7-1 in D.C. this year compared to a 9-14-3 mark on the road. After this evening, the Caps will play five of their next six away from the Verizon Center.
The Jets enter tonight just four points behind Washington for first place in the Southeast and Winnipeg is also five back of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Winnipeg ended a two-game slide and won for the third time in five games with Tuesday's 2-1 regulation win over visiting Toronto. Bryan Little scored the eventual game-winning goal for the Jets midway through the second period and Winnipeg held on for the close victory at MTS Centre.
Chris Thorburn also lit the lamp for the Jets, while Ondrej Pavelec needed to make just 17 saves for the win.
The game also marked the return of Jets forward Evander Kane, who missed the previous seven games with a concussion. Kane leads Winnipeg with 18 goals this year, but he failed to register a shot on goal in nearly 14 minutes of ice time against the Leafs.
Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian left Tuesday's game briefly with a wrist injury before returning and is expected to play tonight.
Like the Capitals, Winnipeg has done most of its damage at home this year, boasting a 16-8-2 mark at the MTS Centre and a 9-16-4 record on the road. The Jets will visit Pittsburgh on Saturday before returning to Winnipeg to face the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
The Jets are 1-1-1 against Washington this year after they won the final three meetings of last year's season series while they were still known as the Atlanta Thrashers. The Jets/Thrashers franchise has lost 10 of its last 11 games in D.C.