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NHL Game Summary - Winnipeg at Washington
(Tuesday, April 23rd)
Final Score: Washington 5, Winnipeg 3
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Alex Ovechkin posted a goal and an assist as the Washington Capitals wrapped up the Southeast Division with a 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
Washington is now locked into the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs thanks to winning its division for the fifth time in the past six years.
"We did it and everyone is pretty happy right now," said Ovechkin. "It's a first step, but we still have a lot of work to do here. We're clicking pretty good right now, so we'll see where this goes."
Nicklas Backstrom, Jason Chimera and Mathieu Perreault each gave a goal and an assist and Matt Hendricks also scored for the Capitals, who have surged in April with a mark of 10-1-0. Braden Holtby stopped 24 shots in the win.
Winnipeg, meanwhile, is hanging onto its playoff hopes by a slim thread. With 51 points and one game to play, the team is one point back of both the Rangers and Senators, who are tied for the seventh and eighth spot with 52 points. The Rangers lost on Tuesday and have two games left, while the Senators still have three games to play.
Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler and Nik Antropov all scored for the Jets, who had won six of seven coming in. Ondrej Pavelec gave up four goals on 40 shots.
"They played better than us tonight," said Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel. "They can make plays and do make plays. We stuck with the game and got back in it, but then we let it get away."
The Caps scored just 3:12 in on Hendricks' fifth of the season and took a 2-0 lead with 2:07 to play in the first period as Perreault sent a short pass from behind the net to the front where Chimera got his second shot past Pavelec.
The Jets cut their deficit in half just 16 seconds into the second period on the power play as Kane rushed into the zone down the right wing and his sharp wrister beat Holtby.
With 5:49 to play in the second, Winnipeg tied the game as Nik Antropov sent a pass from the right boards to the slot where Wheeler one-timed it home, but the Caps quickly responded.
Just 37 seconds after the Wheeler goal, Ovechkin swept the puck from the right wing to the slot where Backstrom pushed it in for his eight goal of the season and a 3-2 lead.
Washington made it a 4-2 game with 2:26 to play in the second as Jack Hillen's shot from the slot was stopped, but Perreault chipped the puck over Pavelec for his sixth of the season.
Antropov wristed a puck into the left corner off a rush down the slot with 8:10 to play in the game and cut the deficit to one, but the Jets were unable to net the equalizer and Ovechkin sealed the win with an empty-netter and his NHL-leading 31st goal of the season.
Washington hosts Ottawa on Thursday ... Winnipeg, which went 11-11-2 on the road this season, hosts Montreal on Thursday to close out its regular season ... Washington won four of the five games against Winnipeg this season ... Winnipeg went 1-for-3 on the power play while Washington was held scoreless on its one chance.
04/23 23:47:14 ET