Capitals at Jets
Alex Ovechkin is back in a familiar place, leading the NHL in goals as the Washington Capitals open a four-game road trip on Tuesday against the suddenly struggling Winnipeg Jets. Ovechkin, who led the league in goals scored six times in a nine-season span before finishing with just 33 goals a season ago, already has reached that mark in 2017-18 to help the Capitals rise to first place in the Metropolitan Division.
But defense has been a problem of late, as coach Barry Trotz pointed out after the Capitals suffered a 5-4 overtime loss to Detroit on Sunday. “We’ve just got to keep them out of our net a little bit,” Trotz told reporters after the setback. The Jets have lost consecutive home games for the first time this season after a 3-1 defeat against the New York Rangers on Sunday - just the fifth regulation loss on home ice in 2017-18 - as Winnipeg slid two points behind Nashville for the Central Division lead. “It’s a couple games here, a couple bumps,” Jets forward Mathieu Perreault told the media after Sunday’s loss. “We’re going to put it behind us and move forward.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCS Washington, TSN3 (Winnipeg)
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (32-17-6): Goaltender Braden Holtby ranks second in the league in wins (28) but has allowed 15 goals in four games this month. Ovechkin is on pace for 49 goals (he has scored 50 or more seven times) and has 27 goals and 50 points in Washington’s 32 victories. The Capitals are 4-3-3 in their past 10 games and begin a road trip that includes stops in Minnesota, Chicago and Buffalo.
ABOUT THE JETS (32-15-9): Winnipeg had two goals disallowed against the Rangers in dropping to 3-2-1 through six games of its current 10-game homestanding. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is tied with Holtby in wins, stopping 25-of-27 shots Sunday in just his eighth regulation defeat of the season. Patrik Laine started the week tied for 12th in the league with 25 goals and first with 14 power-play scores.
1. Jets C Mark Scheifele picked up an assist Sunday, his first point in his second game back from an upper-body injury.
2. Washington C Nicklas Backstrom, who scored the game winner against Columbus on Feb. 6, scored on a 6-on-4 with 16.7 seconds left in regulation Sunday to tie the game.
3. Capitals C Evgeny Kuznetsov has 10 points (eight assists) during his current seven-game point streak.