WINNIPEG – Winnipeg coach Claude Noel has been critical of his team's play at times this season. But for the second game in a row, he couldn't find much to criticize.
Evander Kane scored a pair of goals as the Jets won back-to-back home games for the first time, delighting the sellout crowd at MTS Centre by beating the Washington Capitals 4-1 on Thursday night.
The 15,004 who packed the house to see Alex Ovechkin's first trip to Manitoba roared when Kane's second of the night at 6:38 of the second period broke a 1-1 tie and triggered a three-goal spurt in a span of 4:16 that put the Jets in command.
The Jets then shut down a 5-on-3 Washington power play that lasted 59 seconds, then held the Caps to just five shots in the third period after Washington tested Ondrej Pavelec 25 times in the first 40 minutes as the Jets followed up Monday's 5-2 win against Tampa Bay with another win.
"I thought our guys played extremely well," Noel said. "We played with a lot of heart, a lot of passion, and we played very strong. We played to win the game. It's nice to watch us play back-to-back games like this."
The Capitals lost for the fourth time in six games and were a sour bunch as they headed for a Saturday night game in Toronto. Washington’s inability to halt the Jets’ second-period wave left coach Bruce Boudreau exasperated.
"The best way to slow it down is to score a goal," Boudreau said. "The best way to stop a crowd from cheering is to not making stupid mistakes in your own zone and giving them opportunities to score."
Ovechkin, who registered five shots, drew a steady stream of jeers from the Winnipeg crowd late in the game. He was held scoreless for the third consecutive game and fourth time in his past five outings; his seven goals and 14 points are career lows after 17 games.
"I think [tonight] I had a good chance to score some goals," Ovechkin said. But the loss left Boudreau in no mood to speak about his much-discussed sniper.
"You know what," Boudreau snapped when asked about Ovechkin, "I don't want to talk about Alex tonight."
Washington's Alexander Semin opened the scoring 3:53 into the game by breaking loose on the right side before pulling Pavelec out of position and flicking a shot high into the net. Semin has tormented the Jets going back to their days in Atlanta, and now has 18 goals in 32 games between the clubs.