NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, February 6th
(All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (28-25-5) at Washington Capitals (25-23-9), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets will try to continue their success
under new head coach Paul Maurice when they visit the struggling Washington
Capitals for Thursday's meeting at Verizon Center.
The Jets boast a 9-2-0 record since Maurice took over behind the bench for the
fired Claude Noel in mid-January. The club has won its last three games and
Winnipeg can post its second four-game winning streak of the Maurice era with
another victory tonight.
The surge has helped move Winnipeg within two points of a playoff spot in the
Washington, meanwhile, has damaged its playoff chances in recent weeks,
although it does enter Thursday's tilt only three points out of a postseason
spot in the East. The Capitals have lost three of their last four games and
are just 3-7-3 over their past 13 outings.
The Caps, who until this season were in the same division as the
Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise, have won five straight in this series against
their former Southeast Division rivals. That run includes a 5-4 shootout win
in Winnipeg on Oct. 22 when Alex Ovechkin recorded two goals and an assist for
The Jets had a three-game winning streak in D.C. snapped when the Capitals
posted a 5-3 home win on April 23 of last season. Ovechkin had one goal and an
assist in that victory and the Russian sniper has amassed 81 points (40 goals,
41 assists) in 54 career games against the Thrashers/Jets.
Winnipeg has won all three of its games during its current winning streak by
one-goal margins and each of the victories came in regulation. The Jets picked
up their second straight win by a 2-1 score Tuesday in Carolina, as Chris
Thorburn scored the winner with 1:03 to play to down the Hurricanes.
The winning goal came as Jacob Trouba skated behind the net and came around
the left side in an attempt on a wraparound. It missed the goaltender, but
came to the right side and Thorburn slammed it in with 63 seconds left.
Andrew Ladd had the other goal and Ondrej Pavelec stopped 28 shots for the
"It wasn't our best game because I don't think we played to our strengths,"
said Maurice. "But the structure was deep and our defense was good so that's
what pulled us through."
The Jets have won the first two games of a four-game swing to improve their
road record to 14-14-1. Winnipeg will close the trip this Saturday in St.
Louis on the final day of NHL action before the league goes on hiatus for the
The Capitals were shut out 1-0 in their last outing, as they dropped a home
decision to the New York Islanders. Andrew MacDonald scored the only goal of
the game early in the third period to account for the decisive goal.
Michal Neuvirth made 27 saves for the Capitals, who went 0-for-6 on the power
play in the loss.
"Every point right now is big," said Washington forward Martin Erat. "It
doesn't matter if you are playing the Islanders or if you are playing Boston.
You have to play the same way all the time, and we have to get the points from
every single game."
Washington is 1-1-0 on a four-game homestand that will carry the club into the
Olympic break. The residency ends with Saturday's tilt against the New Jersey
Devils, who are currently tied with the Caps in the East standings.
The Capitals. who are 15-10-4 as the host this season, will play Thursday
without defenseman Mike Green (concussion) and forwards Mikhail Grabovski
(sprained ankle) and Aaron Volpatti (upper body).
02/06 11:04:36 ET