Capitals 6, Jets 1
Braden Holtby and the Washington Capitals enjoyed their two-game
stay in Winnipeg.
Holtby made 30 saves as the Capitals beat the Jets 6-1 on
Friday, a victory that followed a 4-0 win against the Jets on
”Anywhere you can come and get two wins, it’s a pretty good
city,” Holtby said after Alex Ovechkin scored twice for the win
that lifted the Capitals past Tampa Bay into third place in the
”For some reason, we play really well here as a group. Probably
three of our best games all year have come in this building. It’s
good because they’re the guys we’re chasing.”
That third game was a 3-0 shutout March 2. The Jets managed a
4-2 win in Washington near the start of the season.
Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer, Jay Beagle and Mike Green also
scored for the Capitals and team scoring leader Mike Ribeiro had
Dustin Byfuglien scored for Winnipeg, which kept its tenuous
hold on first place in the Southeast with closest rival Carolina
For Holtby, this could be a turning point. He said the Caps also
played well in Pittsburgh before coming to Winnipeg for a rare
back-to-back series, although they didn’t win.
”We’re getting in the groove. You can feel it in the dressing
room. the guys are confident and guys are ready to make a push
here. It’s a good feeling and that’s what we’ve been waiting for
Byfuglien scored Winnipeg’s only goal in the third, winning a
standing ovation as he stopped what looked like another
The Jets outshot the Capitals 31-24 and showed a lot more life
than Thursday, although the result was the same.
”What can you say, they scored goals and we didn’t,” said Jets
coach Claude Noel who described it as a bump in the road and a
”At one point the shots were 30-17 and we were down, 5-1 but
that’s what you get sometimes.”
He also wasn’t as down on the level of play as he was after
Thursday, when Winnipeg came out flat and stayed that way.
”We didn’t execute some things but for me the will was there,
the game was really out of reach. It was a tough game to be part
”I still like our team and we’re still at the top of our
division, we’re still a team that I believe will make the playoffs
and that’s where we’re going. The world is not going to end
tomorrow, I don’t think.”
Laich, who only returned to the Capitals on Thursday from an
injury at the start of the season, scored first Friday. He raised a
shot past Ondrej Pavelec’s glove side from the left faceoff circle
The Jets had a few more chances at the Washington net but
couldn’t get past Holtby.
Evander Kane came close, but a few seconds later at the other
end of the ice, Brouwer and Ribeiro broke away and Brouwer picked
the same corner of the net as Laich.
”We got more pucks to the net, which is something we wanted to
do,” Kane said.
”We had some scoring opportunities but we didn’t have enough.
Everything they touched kind of went in.”
The second period followed the same pattern as the first.
Beagle scored after taking a pass from Joel Ward in front of
Pavelec. It was enough for Noel, who pulled Pavelec for backup Al
Montoya at the 5:50 mark. Pavelec finished with six saves on nine
But he didn’t fault his starter, who has kept the Jets in a lot
of games this season when it looked like they were outclassed.
Pavelec said the Jets didn’t deserve to win.
”We have to go back to our plan and play the way we want to
play,” he said.
”It’s disappointing, (there’s) no excuse for it that’s for
sure, but tomorrow’s another day and another game Sunday.”
Montoya, who had 12 saves, didn’t fare any better than Pavelec.
Ovechkin fired a screamer of a wrist shot into the Winnipeg net
about two minutes after the goalie change.
Green then slapped one past Montoya to start the third
Noel tried mixing up his lines Friday night. Chris Thorburn
moved up to the third line with Nik Antropov and Kyle Wellwood and
later Blake Wheeler was skating with Kane and Olli Jokinen, but
nothing seemed to work for the Jets.
It was Byfuglien who broke through with a puck that was fired
from the boards near the goal line and sliced past Holtby on a
sharp angle to catch the edge of the net.
Ovechkin then slapped one past Montoya on Washington’s final
power play of the game at 15:58 for his second goal of the
Noel had some parting advice for his players ahead of Sunday’s
home game against Tampa Bay.
”The best thing our players can do is get away from hockey and
go see a movie and clear your head, because we’ve got a game on
Sunday,” he said.
Note: The Jets are 5-6-0 against division rivals this