The Washington Capitals headed west on Thursday night to wrap up the back half of a home-and-home set against the Winnipeg Jets after winning the first of the two meetings, 4-3, in a Gimmick on Tuesday. The Caps had chances but could convert none of them, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Jets for a split of the home-and-home set between the clubs.
The Jets opened the scoring in the seventh minute of the game When Dmitry Kulikov took a pass at the left point from Blake Wheeler and, using Nicklas Backstrom as a screen, fired a shot past Backstrom’s right hip that sailed on through and over goalie Ilya Samsonov’s blocker to make it 1-0, 6:33 into the game.
The Caps would fend off two Winnipeg power plays, including 1:55 of a 5-on-3 advantage with defensemen Brenden Dillon and Radko Gudas in the penalty box, in keeping the game a one-goal affair as the teams went to the first intermission.
-- Winnipeg let in shots on goal, 9-7, while the teams fiished the first period with 17 shot attempts apiece.
-- Seven different Capitals had one shot on goal; Richard Panik led the club with four shot attempts.
-- Evgeny Kuznetsov had another hot start in the faceoff circle, winning all five draws he took.
-- The Caps held the Jets without a shot on goal over the 1:55 of a 5-on-3 advantage in the first period.
The Caps opened with a chance when Jakub Vrana broke in alone in the first minute, but he was foiled by goalie Connor Hellebuyck. Alex Ovechkin had a chance in the second minute when he accepted a pass from Tom Wilson between the hash marks, but his shot at what looked like an open net was kicked aside by Hellebuyck at the last moment. Vrana had another mini-break nine minutes into the period and beat Hellebuyck with a shot, but it rattled off the post and out to keep the Caps from tying the game.
The Jets got their third power play of the game when Evgeny Kuznetsov was whistled for cross-checking at the 11:37 mark of the period. The Caps killed off the penalty and had a chance shortly thereafter, Alec Ovechkin one-timing a pass from Kuznetsov, but Hellebuyck slid across to smother the shot without a rebound, and the Jets remained in front.
Ovechkin drew a hooking call on Neal Pionk 15:07 into the period to put the Caps on their first power play of the evening. Half way into the man advantage, Dmitry Orlov fed Ilya Kovalchuk for a one timer ticketed for the far corner, but Hellebuyck gloved it down.
Just after the Pionk penalty expired, the Jets went shorthanded again when Anthony Bitetto hooked Kovalchuk behind the Winnipeg net. The Caps failed to convert the opportunity, and the game remained 1-0 in favor of the home team after 40 minutes.
-- The Caps out-shot the Jets, 13-11, in the period and out-attempted them, 25-22.
--Alex Ovechkin, who did not have a shot attempt in the first period, had five in the second, three on goal to tie Lars Eller and T.J. Oshie in shots on goal through two periods.
-- The Caps were 23-for-36 in faceoffs through two periods (63.9 percent); Nic Dowd was the only Capital under 50 percent (2-for-6/33.3 percent).
The Caps went on their third power play of the night just over a minute into the period, Nick Jensen drawing a hooking call on Dylan Demelo. Washington drew a blank on the man advantage and remained one goal back.
The Caps inability to take advantages of their chances bit them in the seventh minute when Mark Scheifele outdueled two Caps for a loose puck below the goal line, then fed Kyle Connor for a one-timer from the slot to make it 2-0, Jets.
The Caps pulled Ilya Samsonov with over two minutes left in regulation looking to end the shutout and get the equalizer, but Scheifele ended the Caps’ hopes with an empty netter with 1:28 left to make it 3-0. That would be how the teams skated off, splitting the home-and-home set.
-- After posting a four-game winning streak on the road from January 18th through February 13th, this was the Caps’ fourth straight loss on the road.
-- In their four-game road losing streak, the Caps scored a total of five goals and were shutout in this game.
-- This was the Caps’ second instance of being shut out on the road this season, the first being a 3-0 whitewashing by the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 16th.
-- After winning the first ten road decisions of his career, Ilya Samsonov lost his second straight road decision in this game.
-- The Caps out-shot the Jets, 33-32, and held a 65-55 edge in shot attempts.
-- Washington finished the game winners of 32 of 52 faceoffs (61.5 percent), their second-best faceoff winning percentage of the season (67.3 percent against Boston on November 16th).
-- Evgeny Kuznetsov was 12-for-15 (80.0 percent) on draws.
-- Alex Ovechkin and Lars Eller led the Caps with four shots on goal apiece. They also had seven shot attempts apiece to lead the team.
-- Dmitry Orlov led the team in ice time (23:28).
-- Every Capital had at least one shot attempt; Nic Dowd, Garnet Hathaway, and Tom Wilson were the only Caps without a shot on goal.
In the end…
It was an inconsistent performance by the Caps, who were dominated by the Jets, starting late in the third period of Tuesday’s game. Winnipeg outscored the Caps, 6-0, over the last 86:27 of ice time between the clubs in the home-and-home. The Caps managed a split of the two games, but it doesn’t even seem that good, frankly.