Capitals buzz by Jets 5-2, win their fourth straight

DC’s hockey team paid their lone visit to Winnipeg’s Canada Life Centre for a date with the Central division leading Jets. Riding a three-game winning streak they hoped to continue their positive momentum. Displaying a continued focus on their defensive game and aided by timely goals and goaltending, they added to their current streak with a 5-2 win.

After a scoreless first period, Trevor van Riemsdyk scored first at 3:25 of the second period. Nic Dowd attracted two Jets defenders to him leaving van Riemsdyk wide open in the high slot to take his pass. The shot was a sharp wrister over Connor Hellebuyck’s glove side. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored five minutes later on the power play with a perfectly placed backhand shot over Hellebuyck’s glove hand. The play began with a well executed two-man cycle from John Carlson and Conor Sheary.

The Jets would get a power play of their own after Lars Eller high-sticked Dylan DeMelo. Eller was sentenced to four minutes in the box as it caused an injury. During this extended disadvantage, Kuznetsov intercepted the puck. He dove forward to advance it to Marcus Johansson who had a clear path to the Winnipeg goal. Johansson was slashed from behind by Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey and the referees immediately signaled for a penalty shot. Johansson skated in and paralyzed Hellebuyck with a spectacular move followed by an even better backhand shot tucked neatly under the crossbar at 9:55. The Capitals’ assault continued with Eller’s goal at 15:24. After eluding the Winnipeg defense, he hopped over Hellebuyck’s leg and corralled a rebound from Anthony Mantha, turned then fired a wrist shot in for his sixth of the season.

Winnipeg would not go down quietly however as they made a comeback in the third period. Just 35 seconds in, Adam Lowry flipped in a rebound from Morrissey to spoil Charlie Lindgren’s shutout bid. Several minutes later Pierre-Luc Dubois scored on a wide 3-on-1 advance to put the Jets within two goals. Sensing his team was losing their momentum, coach Peter Laviolette called a time-out to have them settle down and refocus. The tactic worked as the Capitals would largely keep the Jets at bay for the remainder of the game. When needed, Lindgren continued his excellence in net, eventually stopping 29 out of 31 shots faced. One of these occurred in the first period forcing him to do an extreme leg split to stop Dubois at point blank range. Alex Ovechkin contributed his recent tradition of empty net goals, potting another for his 17th of the year at 17:48 to seal the win.

NOTES—After a 16-game absence, Dimitry Orlov returned to the lineup, putting in 21:29 of ice time and collecting 2 assists. The Capitals have now scored a power play goal in six consecutive games. Ovechkin’s goal gives him 797 for his illustrious career. Johansson’s shorthanded game winning goal was Washington’s first successful penalty shot goal in nine years, nearly to the day. Lars Eller played his 900th NHL game, the second most by a Danish born player.

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