Capitals, Jets face off while riding winning streaks
A pair of winning streaks collide when the Washington Capitals visit the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.
Winnipeg will be looking for its fifth straight victory while Washington is riding its first three-game winning streak of the season.
The Jets, holding first place in the NHL’s Central Division, open a three-game homestand after completing road wins on back-to-back nights with a 3-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.
Blake Wheeler, Cole Perfetti and Adam Lowry scored for the Jets, who had defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-2 on Thursday.
“We’re playing smart, playing above them, playing behind their goal line, stuff like that that we did tonight will work to our advantage,” Perfetti said. “That’s why we’re finding success right now.”
David Rittich stopped 22 shots for the Jets, who have won seven of eight — scoring five or more goals five times in that span.
“‘Ritter’ made some big saves when it was 2-0, 2-1,” Lowry said of Winnipeg’s backup goalie. “We’re going to look for that to continue.”
Josh Morrissey had two assists for the Jets and leads the team with 30 points (five goals, 25 assists). Wheeler has goals in his past two games and 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in his past 10.
Wheeler’s power-play goal extended the Jets streak of scoring with the man advantage to seven straight games.
The Jets lost defenseman Logan Stanley in the first period because of a lower-body injury.
Goalie Connor Hellebuyck is 4-3-2 with a 2.19 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in his career versus the Capitals.
Washington opens a brief two-game road swing in search of its fourth straight win following a 4-1 victory over the visiting Seattle Kraken on Friday. Alex Ovechkin notched his third empty-net goal in two games and added as assist for the Capitals.
Lars Eller, Anthony Mantha and Marcus Johansson scored, and Charlie Lindgren made 25 saves — 14 in the third period — for the Capitals.
“It seems like three games in a row we’ve just played amazing hockey,” Lindgren said. “Honestly, I think it’s been fun to play goal for this team all year long, but especially the last few games we’ve just been playing incredible. Can’t get complacent, we’ve got to keep on going to work.”
The Capitals have made a habit of falling behind early this season and the Kraken led 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes. Washington took command with a two-goal second period and that held up until Eller and Ovechkin scored into the empty net.
“I feel like every win gives you a little bit of confidence, and it gets the group going,” Johansson said. “Even though we were down 1-0 tonight, I didn’t think it changed anybody’s mindset or anything different within our group, which is good. We kept playing, and that’s the way it needs to be.”
Ovechkin trails Gordie Howe (801) by five goals for second on the all-time list. He has 52 career empty-net goals, trailing only Wayne Gretzky (56), who scored 894 goals.
Capitals defenseman Alexander Alexeyev earned an assist for his first NHL point but left in the second period after an illegal check to the head by Seattle’s Jamie Oleksiak, who was suspended for three games.
Lindgren has never faced the Jets.
–Field Level Media