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Scheifele, Jets end Capitals' six-game winning streak

by Patrick Williams

WINNIPEG -- Mark Scheifele scored with 19.9 seconds remaining in overtime to help the Winnipeg Jets to a 2-1 win against the Washington Capitals at MTS Centre on Saturday.

Scheifele broke loose from down-low coverage before drifting into the left circle and snapping a low shot past Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby for his 10th goal. The loss ended Washington's six-game winning streak.

"We stuck with them through a full 60 minutes, and I think that shows [well] for our team, and hopefully we can take this into [Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks]," Scheifele said. "For the most part, we stuck with it. We didn't get rattled, and it showed. Getting the win is huge."

The play was reviewed to see whether Winnipeg forward Blake Wheeler was offside on the rush into the offensive zone moments before the goal. However, after several minutes, the officials could not find conclusive evidence to overturn the call on the ice, and the goal stood.

"I'm 100 percent sure that [Wheeler's skate] was over [the blue line]," Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "We thought it was when it was originally live, and then you look at the three different angles, and there's no question. ... I don't know how they came up with inconclusive. It's just my opinion."

Jets rookie Connor Hellebuyck made 37 saves in his third NHL game, including six in an overtime he said was "pretty exhausting." The 22-year-old goaltender has started 3-0-0 with a 0.97 goals-against average and a .967 save percentage.

The Jets (13-12-2) recalled Hellebuyck from Manitoba of the American Hockey League on Nov. 22 after No. 1 goaltender Ondrej Pavelec sustained a knee injury that will keep him out of the lineup for at least the rest of the month.

"[It was] the first game [Hellebuyck] saw some big shooters," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "He consistently looks big in the net. He has had a good progression here to this game. We like what we've seen with Connor. We're going to do everything we can to keep him in that groove."

The Capitals (18-5-2) finished a three-game Canada road trip and host the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. The loss followed a 3-2 win against Montreal Canadiens on Thursday that did not leave Trotz or his players happy.

"I didn't like the way we played in Montreal," Trotz said. "We have a great group of guys that responded in tough circumstances in a tough rink to play in against a very desperate team, so it was a good battle."

Early penalty trouble for the Capitals allowed the Jets to dominate the first period.Washington's penalty kill began play Saturday tied for fifth in the NHL, but it allowed a goal on one of four Winnipeg first-period power plays when Jets captain Andrew Ladd scored with 6.3 seconds remaining.

Holtby had shut down Winnipeg after Washington surrendered three consecutive first-period power plays in a 6:41 span, including a 36 second 5-on-3 advantage. The Jets went scoreless on their first eight power-play shots in the period.

"It was a game they deserved to win as much as we did and more," said Holtby, who made 34 saves, including 16 in the first period. "When that happens, you leave it to chance. We didn't do a good enough job."

Winnipeg's power play finally converted when Ladd's left-circle slap shot over Holtby's left glove gave him his eighth goal. The power play has scored in four of the past five games after scoring twice in the previous 11 games (2-for-38).

"It's just not ideal," Washington defenseman John Carlson said of the first-period penalties. "I thought we kind of let it get away from ourselves a little bit in the first. I think we did a great job of settling everybody down, getting back on track. I think we were rock-solid the rest of the way."

Washington rebounded in the second period. The Capitals went on a 10-1 run in shots and broke through when Nicklas Backstrom's ninth goal made it 1-1 with 5:35 left in the period. Jets forward Anthony Peluso's roughing penalty put the Capitals on their fourth power play late in the second period and Backstrom needed 12 seconds to snap a high shot from the right circle that slipped through Andre Burakovsky's screen.

The Capitals couldn't solve Hellebuyck again, including Alex Ovechkin's overtime drive to the net that was stopped.

"I thought we played better as a team than against Montreal, but you've got to capitalize on your chances to win," Backstrom said.

Holtby's eight-game winning streak came to an end two short of the Capitals record.

"[Saturday] kind of caught up to us a little [after] the way we played in Montreal," he said. "We got a point out of it, but it's not a game we're proud of. We'll take a point, figure out [Sunday] what we need to get better at and move on."

Since going 4-9-1 in November, including a six-game losing streak (0-5-1), the Jets have won three of their past four games. After visiting Chicago, they play five home games in December in an attempt to climb the standings in the Central Division.

"I think we're close to a really good understanding of how we want to play and how it's supposed to look," Maurice said. "As soon as we get comfortable that there is going to be angst through 82 games and come out with a really clear focus of the game we want to play, we'll be in good shape, and I think we're closer to that now."

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