|(36-28-6) 78 points||(33-29-8) 74 points|
8th in East, 2nd in Southeast
10th in East, 3rd in Southeast
The Capitals have been playing their best hockey of the year and superstar Alexander Ovechkin has been playing like one again despite running into Mike Knuble during practice this week. The Caps have won 4 straight and will look to be one of the few teams to have their streak continue after visiting the MTS Centre.
Mike Green will return to the line up tonight after serving his three game suspension. He will be looked upon to help bolster an offense that like Winnipeg has struggled to score goals at time. With Florida’s win over Boston last night, Washington is looking for a win to keep pace in the Southeast and hold off Winnipeg who goes into tonight’s match up just 4 points back.
The Jets know the biggest game of the year is always the current game and in a tight playoff run that is certainly true but even more so when it’s against a team you are chasing. The closest spot to the playoffs for Winnipeg is to knock Washington out, they trail them by 4 points and will play them next Friday as well as tonight. It doesn’t take a math wiz to release that if the Jets can win both those games they can catch the Captials and control their own fate.
Blake Wheeler continued to impress with a highlight of the night play stick handling around three Dallas players before dishing off to Ladd who score on his rebound. Evander Kane also scored once again while Ladd added a power play marker for a two goal game.
The Jets home power play has scored once every four attempts on home ice and continuing that will help them win games for sure. Ondrej Pavelec will once again be relied on and will have to be his best to stop Ovechkin and the Capitals attack.
Hit Ovechkin. He had a scare in practice and might not be 100%. Better take advantage and hit him at every chance and get him off his game.
Score first. The Jets continue to dominate at home after scoring first and every game the first goal will be huge.
Win face offs. Statistically these two teams are very close and Washington has a slight edge on the season in face off percentage. Slater has been great at the dot the last few games and if he and the other centers can control the draws the game should follow.
Draw penalties. Winnipeg’s big statistical advantage is on the power play so they need to exploit it for all it’s worth and convert on their chances.
Zach Bogosian (Wrist) – Questionable
Chris Thorburn (Upper Body) – Out Indefinately
Jets – Ondrej Pavelec (25-22-7, 2.74, .912) [Unconfirmed]
Capitals – Tomas Vokoun (25-16-2, 2.51, .917) [Unconfirmed]
If I would have told you that Blake Wheeler had more points than Alexander Ovechkin at this point in the season at the start of the year, you either would not have believed me or assumed Ovie got hurt. But Wheeler’s 58 points is more than Ovechkin’s 53 and when the night is done I believe Evander Kane will have reached the 30 goal plateau and have one more than Ovechkin’s 29 as well.
Winnipeg Jets 4 – Washington Capitals 3