Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Holtby, Capitals blank Jets again

The SportsXchange

WINNIPEG -- Braden Holtby continues to be a wall in Winnipeg.

The Washington goaltender made 19 saves and pitched his second shutout in as many trips to the MTS Centre this season as the Capitals earned a 4-0 win over the Jets on Thursday night.

The Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, product is at home on the Canadian prairies, as he bested host Winnipeg just 19 days prior, turning aside all 35 shots he faced in a 3-0 Capitals victory.

"I don't know what it is. I've always felt comfortable here for some reason," Holtby said. "It's hard to put a finger on it."

Thursday's triumph brought the Capitals (13-16-1) within seven points of the Southeast Division-leading Jets (16-13-2) while holding a game in hand. The Capitals had won just two of their last seven games heading into the contest. Winnipeg, meanwhile, had won six of eight before Thursday's loss.

Washington took control of the game early, pinning the Jets in their own zone and forcing numerous turnovers when there.

"It's a desperate time. Every point is very important," Washington captain Alexander Ovechkin said. "It showed the character of the team, and I think we played great on both sides, in the defensive zone, in the neutral zone, in the offensive zone."

Troy Brouwer opened the scoring just 3:06 into the game when his quick shot beat teammate Brooks Laich's screen, as well as Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec. The goal was Brouwer's 11th of the season.

"I heard Brooksie calling for it, and he made a nice little play back to me. I came out beside the side of the net, didn't have a whole lot, so I just threw it to the net," Brouwer said of his early game-winner. "We needed a start like that."

Marcus Johansson made it 2-0 when he redirected a feed from Ovechkin past Pavelec for his fourth of the campaign at 16:22 of the first.

Ovechkin put the game out of reach late in the third. He put home his team-leading 13th tally of the year on a one-timer from Nicklas Backstrom on a power play with 5:54 remaining. The pair connected again 4:16 later, as Backstrom's one-timer from Ovechkin dribbled between Pavelec's left foot and the goalpost.

Winnipeg's power play, which showed signs of life by converting three of 13 opportunities in the previous five games, struggled Thursday, failing to score in three opportunities, including two in the third period.

"They're playing chess, we're playing checkers," Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said. "We couldn't make a pass, couldn't make a play, couldn't make three plays to get it up in the offensive zone, spent too much time in the (defensive) zone. By the time we got to the offensive zone, we had no energy."

Pavelec finished with 21 saves while making his eighth start in a row for Winnipeg.

In a scheduling quirk, the teams will meet again Friday night in Winnipeg before wrapping up the season series in Washington on April 23.

"It's going to be hard tomorrow, but right now, we have to take a rest and prepare for tomorrow's game," Ovechkin said.

NOTES: The back-to-back matchups between the Jets and Capitals on Thursday and Friday hearken back to the MTS Centre's American Hockey League days, as the Manitoba Moose would often host opponents on back-to-back nights. Playing two games in two nights in the same city is a first for both franchises. ... Tuesday night's 3-1 win over Boston marked the first time Winnipeg won a game when trailing after two periods, improving its mark in such games to 1-7-0. ... Ovechkin has lit up the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise in his career with 74 points (35 goals and 39 assists) in 51 games, his highest total against any team. ... Defenseman Mike Green returned to the Capitals lineup after missing the past 10 games with a groin injury. ... Thursday's game was the second of a season-long four-game road trip for Washington, which lost 2-1 in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, and will wrap the jaunt in New York against the Rangers on Sunday. ... Thursday's game was also the second of a four-game homestand for Winnipeg, which will head on the road for a pair after hosting Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (1)