WASHINGTON – Just one game after scoring eight goals, the Winnipeg Jets were held to only one by Pheonix Copley and the Caps on Sunday in a 3-1 win for Washington. The victory makes that seven straight for the Caps, tying a season high.
Here are four reasons Washington won.
Jets lose track of Backstrom
Early in the first period John Carlson went deep in the offensive zone looking to join the play. Nicklas Backtrom came back to the blue line to cover him. The puck came out to him and he passed it left to Michal Kempny. Kempny sent it cross-rink to Carlson, who was moving back into his position at the blue line. Among all the shuffling, the Jets completely lost track of Backstrom who moved up to the high slot. When Carlson returned the puck to him, he was left completely wide open. Backstrom took advantage of the space and the screen being delivered by T.J. Oshie and an ailing Tyler Myers, who had just taken an inadvertent kick to the ribs, and fired the puck past goalie Connor Hellebuyck to give Washington the 1-0 lead.
The penalty kill
The Caps’ penalty kill was again put to the test on Sunday as Washington had to kill off five power-play opportunities for Winnipeg. The penalty kill was called upon early and often on Friday against the New Jersey Devils. The answer in that game was Carl Hagelin, who had over eight minutes of penalty-kill time alone. Washington could not lean so heavily on Hagelin in this game, however, as he took two of the penalties against the Caps. Still, the penalty kill stood strong again killing off all four of the penalties faced.
The key kill came in the first period with the game tied at one. Brett Connolly was called for tripping and 26 seconds later, the Caps were caught with five skaters on the ice. The referees caught Washington for too many men giving Winnipeg a two-man advantage for 1:34. The Caps allowed three shots on goal, but did not allow the Jets to hit the back of the net. They also managed to kill off a late third period penalty for Dmitry Orlov as the team held a one-goal lead.
Washington's penalty kill has now killed off 19 of 21 penalties since acquiring Hagelin and Nick Jensen and has also killed off 16 straight.
An alley-oop to Hagelin
Hagelin’s best attribute is his speed which means when he comes out of the penalty box the Caps will have a chance for a quick strike if they can get him the puck. Nic Dowd did just that in the second period.
As goalie Connor Hellebuyck smacked the ice with his stick signaling the end of the penalty, Dowd intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and immediately flipped the puck up and over the Jets and down the ice. The puck made its way to Hagelin who was behind the defense and in on a breakaway. He beat Hellebuyck five-hole to break the tie and give Washington the 2-1 lead.
An unsuccessful challenge from Winnipeg
The Jets thought they had the game-tying goal midway through the third period as the puck crossed the line after a scrum in front of the net. The play was ruled no goal for goalie interference, but Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice challenged the play. After a review, it was upheld as no goal.
Replay showed the puck clearly crossed the line just before Copley could kick it out with the pad, but that was not the issue; the issue was that in going after the loose puck, Bryan Little clearly pushed Copley’s pad with his stick, which led to the disallowed goal.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS: