Capitals-Jets Preview

The Associated Press

The Winnipeg Jets can get untracked at the MTS Centre by sweeping a brief homestand and building even more momentum to take back on the road.

Looking to win consecutive home games for the first time in almost a month, the Jets try for a season-high fourth straight victory and fifth in a row over the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

Fresh off a 4-1 trip, Winnipeg (10-9-1) snapped a four-game home slide with a 3-1 victory over New Jersey on Thursday. Andrew Ladd scored 8 seconds in and added the go-ahead goal in the third period to help the Jets improve to 4-5-0 at home.

Winnipeg has scored first in seven straight contests, winning five.

"We've got to get the lead early and try to keep that lead," defenseman Zach Bogosian said. "Learn how to play with the lead and keep that up."

With a four-game, six-day trip starting Tuesday, the Jets would like to stay hot by posting their first back-to-back home victories since a three-game run Jan. 25-Feb. 5. They scored more than two goals for the first time in five games at the MTS Centre while allowing a season low in the building Thursday.

Ladd has scored eight of his team-leading 12 goals and has three assists in the last nine.

"I think right now our team is certainly driven by him and it shows,'' coach Claude Noel said. "It doesn't matter whether he scores or doesn't or gets points, but he's a hard-driving guy and he expects a lot from himself.''

Noel would like to see improvement on a power play that's 1 for 29 over the last 11 games. The Jets, however, have killed 16 of 19 penalties in the last six.

Ladd and Evander Kane each scored power-play goals in Winnipeg's 4-2 win at Washington on Jan. 22, its fourth straight in the series. The franchise is in the midst of an 8-1-1 stretch against the Capitals (7-11-1).

Ladd has nine goals and nine assists in his last 19 games versus Washington. Kane, who had a career high-tying eight-game point streak snapped Thursday, has nine goals with four assists in his last 11 in the series - his most scores against any opponent since 2010-11.

Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec has a 1.58 goals-against average while in net for the last 10 against the Capitals.

Last in the Eastern Conference with 15 points, Washington outscored New Jersey and Carolina 8-1 to win its two games prior to Wednesday's 4-1 loss at Philadelphia. Joel Ward scored late and Braden Holtby was pulled after allowing all four on 18 shots in less than two periods.

"This is not what we wanted, obviously," said Holtby, who made 33 saves in a 3-0 win over the Hurricanes a night earlier. "But there are a lot of things we can learn from here.''

Though the defeat was the third in eight games for the Capitals, they can't afford to take a step back in their progression.

"We're still not where we want to be completely, but we're getting back there," defenseman Karl Alzner said. "It's not a good loss, but hopefully it doesn't set us back more than one game."

Washington star Alex Ovechkin was held without a point after totaling five in the previous two. He has four goals and three assists in the last six against the Jets.

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