Winnipeg – The Winnipeg Jets kept the pressure on Washington netminder Braden Holtby all night long, but came up short in a 3-2 loss to the Capitals in the opener of a home and home series that continues Thursday Night at the Verizon Centre.
Holtby made 43 saves, while Jay Beagle scored off a rebound with 30 seconds remaining on a play that started with his clean faceoff win in the Jets zone versus Adam Lowry. Just 2 minutes earlier Lowry had outwaited Holtby before reaching around the Capital goalie’s outstretched right skate to score the game tieing goal.
Mark Scheifele began the Jets rally when he scored from a sharp angle off his own rebound with just under 7 minutes to play. Karl Alzner and Marcus Johansson scored the earlier Washington goals in the first and second periods. Winnipeg netminder Connor Hellebuyck appeared to be screened on Alzner’s left point shot that went in off his glove. And Hellbuyck stopped Johansson from point blank range, but seemed to put the puck in his own net with his right pad or skate.
The 4-6 Jets outshot the 6-2-1 Capitals in the opener of a busy 16 game schedule in November. Following Thursday’s game in Washington, Winnipeg will play in Detroit on Friday Night and then finish off the road trip Sunday at Madison Square Garden against the NY Rangers before returning home to host Dallas next Tuesday.
The Jets may also be calling up one or two more players from the Moose before departing as Shawn Matthias was injured late in the first period after being tripped up by Capitals blueliner Dmitri Orlov. The veteran forward appeared to be favoring his left ankle as he was helped off the ice. Earlier in the day, defenceman Mark Stuart suffered an upper body injury during the morning skate. That resulted in the call up of rearguard Julian Melchiori from the farm club. And to make room, forward Drew Stafford was placed on injured reserve.