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At the Rink blog

Jets hoping to build off season's best performance

Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 2:00 PM

By Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

WINNIPEG -- The objective for the Winnipeg Jets tonight is to build upon what was perhaps their finest performance of the season.

That performance, a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, snapped a five-game winless streak for the Jets (6-9-3) and greatly lightened the tension surrounding the team.

However, the Washington Capitals pay the Jets a visit tonight at the MTS Centre, and it will be another stiff test for a young Winnipeg team that is now moving into a home-heavy portion of its schedule. The Capitals arrived in Winnipeg on Wednesday still smarting from a late 3-1 loss at Nashville on Tuesday night.

"I don't think we should expect anything less," defenseman Mark Stuart said. "We were happy with our last game, but we need to continue to string together consistent efforts."

Frustrating the Capitals, beginning with shutting down Alex Ovechkin by limiting his time and space, will be foremost among the Jets' objectives. Stuart is expected to shoulder much of the burden of stopping Ovechkin and linemates Troy Brouwer and Nicklas Backstrom. Coach Claude Noel expects to try to contain Ovechkin via a committee of defensemen, though he acknowledged that the Capitals' offensive weapons extend far beyond Ovechkin.

"You've always got to know when he is out there," Stuart said. "It's a challenge against him. It's always a challenge."

Here is the projected lineup for Winnipeg tonight:

Andrew LaddNik AntropovKyle Wellwood
Alexander BurmistrovBryan LittleEvander Kane
Tanner GlassJim SlaterChris Thorburn
Jason JaffrayTim StapletonBlake Wheeler

Mark StuartDustin Byfuglien
Johnny OduyaZach Bogosian
Arturs KuldaMark Flood

Ondrej Pavelec will start for the Jets, with Chris Mason serving as backup.

For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory