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Oates aims for first win in Capitals' home opener

by Brian Hunter

JETS (0-1-1) at CAPITALS (0-1-0)


Season series: First of five meetings between these Southeast Division rivals. Winnipeg took the final three matchups to prevail in last season's series. Capitals star Alex Ovechkin led all scorers with four goals. Evander Kane led the Jets with three goals, while Ondrej Pavelec posted a 4-1-1 mark in net.

Big story: It's the home opener for Washington at Verizon Center, and new coach Adam Oates will take a second crack at his first NHL victory. Trying to deny him will be a Winnipeg squad looking to avoid dropping its third straight to start the season.

Team Scope:

Jets: The team with the 12th-ranked offense in the League last season at 2.70 goals per game is off to a sputtering start. After dropping its season opener on home ice to Ottawa by a 4-1 score, Winnipeg was again held to a single goal Monday afternoon in Boston. Pavelec secured a point for the Jets by stopping 26 of 27 shots, but when the game went to a shootout he was beaten twice by the Bruins, negating a goal by Blake Wheeler.

"We're going to take the positives, clean up a couple of things, a couple of areas but, for the most part, this is a game we can build off," Chris Thorburn, who scored for the Jets in regulation, told the Winnipeg Free Press. "That's the kind of game we need to play every night: puck possession, being strong on pucks, support and being physical. We just fell short. Hopefully tomorrow will be a different outcome."

Capitals: The first order of business for Washington in its home opener will be establishing a lead. The Capitals erased three separate one-goal deficits over the first two periods of their season opener in Tampa Bay, but fell 6-3 as the result of a three-goal blitz by the Lightning in the third. Ovechkin was held off the score sheet, but the Caps received a couple of goals from Joel Ward and one from Wojtek Wolski in his team debut. Fellow newcomer Mike Ribeiro had a pair of assists.

"I think some of the mistakes came from conditioning," Oates told the team's official website. "We got tired at times. The game went in waves. We can't really give them a 5-on-3 at the start of the third period. That obviously hurt us. We came back at the end of the second, and to have to do it again, we knew it was going to be difficult."

Who's hot: Pavelec has a solid 2.40 goals-against average and .922 save percentage through two starts, though backup Al Montoya could be in line to make his first appearance for the Jets in the second night of a back-to-back. … Ward's two goals has him a third of the way to his total from all of last season, his first with the Capitals. Defenseman John Carlson had an assist, four blocked shots and a plus-2 rating.

Injury report: Winnipeg continues to operate without defenseman Zach Bogosian (wrist) and forward Antti Miettinen (upper body). … Washington defenseman Jack Hillen (upper body) is on injured reserve, while forward Brooks Laich (groin) is expected to miss a couple weeks.

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