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Byfuglien scores winner in third, Jets beat Capitals and close on playoff spot

NHL.com @NHL

WINNIPEG - Dustin Byfuglien crashed the net and scored the game-winner in the third period as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Friday to keep their playoff hopes alive.

As Byfuglien skated in front of Capitals goalie Tomas Vokoun, Evander Kane sent the puck into the crease and the big defenceman tipped it in at 9:21 of the third.

Washington went on the power play during the final 2:22 of the game after Ron Hainsey was sent to the penalty box for high-sticking, but the Jets killed it off.

Andrew Ladd and Nik Antropov also scored for Winnipeg, while Byfuglien added an assist.

Ondrej Pavelec made 20 saves for his 27th win of the season in front of a loud, packed house of 15,004 fans at the MTS Centre.

Brooks Laich and Mathieu Perreault replied for Washington, while Vokoun made 25 saves.

Winnipeg (34-29-8) moved into ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 76 points, one point ahead of idle Buffalo.

Washington (36-29-6) retained eighth spot in the conference, but are now only two points ahead of the Southeast Division-rival Jets.

The loss halted Washington's four-game winning streak.

Ladd opened the game's scoring with a backhand shot that went over Vokoun's glove at 11:08. It was his third goal in two games.

Laich evened the score 22 seconds later when he redirected Marcus Johansson???s shot from the blue-line.

Wheeler assisted on Ladd's goal, extending his points streak to six games with four goals and four assists.

Winnipeg went ahead 2-1 late in the second period on a good effort by Antropov.

With a Washington defender draped on top of him, Antropov managed to get his stick on a pass from the back of the net by Tim Stapleton and flipped the puck in the net with a backhand shot at 16:10.

The Capitals started the third period on the power play after a questionable holding call on Jets defenceman Tobias Enstrom with 10 seconds left in the second.

It was a costly penalty, as Hainsey couldn't clear the puck and it banged into Perreault, who then fired it into the net just 27 seconds in to make it 2-2.

Byfuglien's goal came during a four-on-four as Washington's right-winger Troy Brouwer and Wheeler were off for roughing.

Winnipeg was 0-5 on the power play and Washington 1-3.

The teams play each other for the last time during the regular season next Friday in Washington.

Winnipeg hosts Carolina on Sunday. Second of a five-game road trip for the Capitals, who travel to Chicago for a game Sunday.

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