Capitals 5, Jets 4 (SO)

The SportsXchange

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Defense? We don't need no stinkin' defense.

The Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals gave their coaches fits Tuesday night, displaying an anything-goes approach. In the end, the Capitals registered a 5-4 shootout victory as Martin Erat beat Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec through the legs in the sixth round.

The Capitals scored on four of six opportunities in the shootout, while the Jets scored on three of six attempts.

The Jets outshot the Capitals 47-32 and also had four breakaways and no fewer than five two-on-one opportunities through three periods and the five-minute overtime.

However, the Capitals stuck around, taking advantage of sloppy defensive play by the hosts, success in the faceoff circle and a so-so game by Pavelec to earn two points.

Alex Ovechkin scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season, while Mikhail Grabovski and Troy Brouwer also scored for Washington (4-5-0). The Capitals, who knocked off the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 at home Saturday night, won consecutive games for the first time this season.

Bryan Little had two goals, and Blake Wheeler and Grant Clitsome also scored for Winnipeg (4-5-1).

The Capitals continue a five-game stretch away from home Thursday night against the Edmonton Oilers. The Jets also play their next game Thursday against the Nashville Predators, the first of four on the road against Central Division opponents.

Washington goalie Braden Holtby's best save came late in the first period when hulking defenseman Dustin Byfuglien carried the puck nearly the length of the ice, cut in from the boards and tried to jam in a short-handed goal. Holtby finished with 43 saves.

Pavelec made several key saves in the opening frame, including a stop on a point-blank shot by center Marcus Johansson.

The loose defensive play continued in a wild second period as the clubs combined for six goals and an abundance of other glorious scoring chances.

The Jets were hemmed in their own end early in the second period, surrendering the game's first goal at 3:11 when Grabovski converted a rebound.

Minutes later, Byfuglien was assessed a minor penalty for roughing, and the NHL's best power play went on the attack. However, the Jets struck short-handed as Little fired in his third goal of the season, capping off a two-on-one with Andrew Ladd at 7:29.

Just over a minute later, Clitsome's point shot beat a screened Holtby to hand Winnipeg its first lead of the game.

Ovechkin's breakaway goal evened the score at 15:51, and then the Russian sniper wristed the go-ahead goal, his ninth of the year, just over two minutes later.

The Jets pulled even with 38 seconds left in the middle period on Wheeler's second of the year, a deflection that beat Holtby high.

Brouwer and Little traded goals in the third period, setting the stage for a scoreless overtime.

NOTES: Entering the game, Washington ranked first in the NHL in power-play efficiency, going 10-for-30 (33.3 percent). The Capitals converted one of five power plays Tuesday. ... Jets D Jacob Trouba has a neck sprain and will wear a brace for at least two weeks before being re-evaluated. The talented rookie was hurt when he crashed face-first into the boards last Friday night against the St. Louis Blues and left the ice on a stretcher. Former Sabres D Adam Pardy was recalled from AHL St. John's to replace him. ... Prior to scoring the opening goal Tuesday, Grabovski had no goals and two assists in seven games after scoring a hat trick and adding an assist in the season opener. The former Leaf was bumped to the third line and was seeing limited power-play time. ... The Jets wore lavender jerseys for the pregame skate for their Hockey Fights Cancer night, and then raffled them off after the game. The club donated $50,000 to a Winnipeg cancer organization.
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