Alex Ovechkin, Capitals outlast Jets to win in shootout
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Although the Washington Capitals did a lot of things wrong, they still managed to come away with a win.
Martin Erat scored the winner in the sixth round of the shootout Tuesday night, lifting Washington to a 5-4 win over Winnipeg despite being outshot 47-32 and giving the Jets many breakaway chances.
"We made every mistake you can make basically in the course of the game," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "It's the first time this year where we've come to this building or a Canadian rink and the boys are so much faster."
Oates expects to find things even faster in Edmonton, where the Capitals play Thursday.
"It's the fastest rink in the league, and you've got to be prepared for that," he said. "It's a mental adjustment."
Oates gave credit to goaltender Braden Holtby for stopping 43 of the 47 shots he faced in three regulation periods and 5 minutes of overtime.
"Holt made some huge saves," Oates said.
The Capitals managed only 32 on Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec -- none in overtime.
Alex Ovechkin had two goals and an assist for Washington, while Mikhail Grabovski and Troy Brouwer also scored.
"You notice it; it's hard not to," Holtby said of the barrage he faced, which included more breakaways than he could recall.
"We got a win on the start of our road trip here and we've nowhere to go but improve for the rest of it."
Bryan Little struck twice for Winnipeg, while Grant Clitsome and Blake Wheeler also scored as the Jets wrapped up a season-high six-game homestand.
Andrew Ladd had three assists, and coach Claude Noel was pleased with the way his captain's intensity helped lead the team.
"He played with a lot of will tonight, through physical play and winning battles," Noel said. "That's the Andrew Ladd that really helps us win."
Besides the point from the shootout loss, Noel was pleased with the Jets' effort, including coming back twice from deficits and getting more offense from his juggled forward lines.
"We wanted to play physical," Noel said. "I thought that we did. We got good production from our leaders. They stepped up and played, and that's a good thing, so I think we go from there and build on that."
Oates said the Capitals will be talking about what they need to do as they move forward.
Although they were outhustled in the first, Grabovski opened the scoring in the second period with his fourth goal of the season when he swept in and put a loose puck behind Pavelec at 3:11.
Little brought the Jets even with his first goal when he and Ladd broke away short-handed at 7:21. It was the Jets' second breakaway of the penalty, with Evander Kane failing to get past Holtby on a one-on-one chance.
"We just didn't finish," Kane said of the many scoring chances that didn't end up in the net. "It's a good sign to get those breaks and get those opportunities but it was a tough game (to lose) because we did a lot of good things."
Just more than a minute after Little's goal, Byfuglien fed Clitsome, who slapped in his first goal of the season from the point to give the Jets the 2-1 lead.
Washington caught a break when Ovechkin broke away at 15:51 to beat Pavelec one-on-one to even it at 2-all.
Then Ovechkin was fed off the faceoff beside the Winnipeg net and slipped one through the crowd at 18:02 to give the Capitals the lead, although it didn't last long.
Wheeler tipped in a shot from Kane with less than a minute left in the period to even it up again.
Brouwer finally connected with a power-play goal just less than five minutes into the third period. The Jets had successfully shut down the league's best power play until then.
But Little evened it up again with a wrist shot from the slot at 7:04 as the Jets continued to carry the game to the Washington net.
The Jets and Capitals are well acquainted. Going into Tuesday's game, the Jets were 4-4-1 against Washington since the start of the 2011-12 season, the franchise's first in Winnipeg after moving from Atlanta.
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