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game preview

Capitals at Jets preview

Washington can stretch division lead; Winnipeg in three-way tie for second wild card

by Darrin Bauming / Independent Correspondent

CAPITALS (39-18-6) at JETS (32-27-6)



The Game

The Washington Capitals can extend their lead in the Metropolitan Division when they play the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Thursday.

The Capitals lead the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins by four points and go for their third consecutive victory. They defeated the Jets 4-3 in a shootout at Capital One Arena on Tuesday.

Goalie Connor Hellebuyck will start for the Jets, who rallied from down 3-0 on Tuesday. Winnipeg is winless in its past three games (0-2-1) after going 6-2-0 in its previous eight and is tied with the Nashville Predators and Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.


Players to watch

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has scored three goals in his past four games. He leads the NHL with 24 goals in 30 road games.

Jets center Mark Scheifele has nine points (four goals, five assists) during a five-game point streak.


They said it

"It's a good situation against a team that's desperate for points and kind of took it to us in the third period (Tuesday), so it's a good chance for us to get back to how we played in the first period, and in a real difficult building. … They'll have their starting goalie back in there tonight and it'll be a good challenge for us." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden

"Obviously we know how they play, and they know how we play. So we know what to expect and we know what we're going to have to do to win the game." -- Jets defenseman Neal Pionk


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Ilya Kovalchuk

Richard Panik -- Nic Dowd -- Garnet Hathaway

Brenden Dillon -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Nick Jensen

Michal Kempny -- Radko Gudas

Ilya Samsonov

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Travis Boyd, Jonas Siegenthaler, Brendan Leipsic

Injured: None


Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Cody Eakin -- Patrik Laine

Jansen Harkins -- Andrew Copp -- Jack Roslovic

Gabriel Bourque -- Nicholas Shore -- Mason Appleton

Dmitry Kulikov -- Neal Pionk

Nathan Beaulieu -- Dylan DeMelo

Anthony Bitetto -- Tucker Poolman

Connor Hellebuyck

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Logan Shaw, Nelson Nogier

Injured: Josh Morrissey (upper body), Bryan Little (head), Mathieu Perreault (upper body), Adam Lowry (upper body), Carl Dahlstrom (broken hand), Mark Letestu (heart virus), Luca Sbisa (upper body), Sami Niku (lower body)


Status report

Forwards Lowry and Dahlstrom, and defenseman Morrissey, skated wearing non-contact jerseys. Jets coach Paul Maurice said Morrissey may be able to play at the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. … Niku, a defenseman, is week to week after he was injured prior to warmups Tuesday. … The Jets recalled Nogier, a defenseman, from Manitoba of the American Hockey League on Thursday. 


Stat pack

The Capitals have the most road wins in the NHL (21-9-1) while outscoring opponents 108-93. … The Jets have allowed the first goal in each of their past nine games (4-4-1), all coming in the first period.

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