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

Thursday.

”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

Southeast Division.

”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

two assists.

Dustin Byfuglien scored for Winnipeg, which kept its tenuous

hold on first place in the Southeast with closest rival Carolina

idle.

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

all year.”

Byfuglien scored Winnipeg’s only goal in the third, winning a

standing ovation as he stopped what looked like another

shutout.

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

learning experience.

”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

of. …

”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

at 12:10

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

shots.

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

period.

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

night.

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

season.