Capitals-Jets Preview

The Associated Press

The Winnipeg Jets have failed to take advantage of a favorable early season schedule, putting together a mediocre record despite playing more home games than any team thus far.

They'll have another chance at a home victory Tuesday night when they face the Washington Capitals before embarking on a four-game trip.

Winnipeg (4-5-0) has gone 3-4-0 in a league-high seven home contests while being outscored 19-15. It lost 3-1 to visiting Nashville on Sunday.

Coach Claude Noel tinkered with his roster, adding forward Devin Setoguchi back into the mix after he was a healthy scratch for a 4-3 shootout win over St. Louis on Friday. The Jets had 39 shots for their second-highest total of the season, but Noel wants to see his team produce higher-quality chances.

"I think the shots would be an illusion. We needed to get secondary shots," he said. "I don't think we created a whole lot."

Washington coach Adam Oates' personnel changes proved far more effective in a 4-1 home victory over Columbus on Saturday. Martin Erat assisted on all but one of the Capitals' goals after Oates moved him from the fourth line to the second.

"He was flying tonight," said forward Alex Ovechkin, whose seventh goal of the season was assisted on by Erat. "He was the best player on the ice for us tonight."

Oates also moved Mikhail Grabovski from the second line to the third while Eric Fehr shifted from the third line to the fourth. Washington (3-5-0) had been held to two or fewer goals in four of its previous five games, while Erat didn't record a point in his first seven contests.

"You know what, Marty's a good hockey player, has been in this league," Oates said. "We lost a couple in a row, we had to make some changes, and he stepped in there and played great for us."

Winnipeg will look to curb its troubling trend of falling behind after surrendering the first goal in seven games this season, including three straight.

"We can't think we're going to make a comeback every single game," goaltender Ondrej Pavelec told the team's website. "We have to find a way to start winning games. The way we've been playing all season long is not the way to be successful. We have to change something and we have to change something now."

The Capitals haven't been much better, scoring first three times.

The Jets have gone 0 for 11 on the power play over the past four games, while Washington hasn't a power-play goal in its last three and ranks near the top of the league with an 85.7 penalty-kill percentage.

Dustin Byfuglien has three goals and six assists in his last nine games against Washington.

Nicklas Backstrom has recorded at least one point in each of his last seven against Winnipeg, totaling 10.

The Capitals took four of five matchups with the Jets last season by a 20-8 margin, with Ovechkin recording nine points.

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