The Washington Capitals make their first long trip of the season up to Winnipeg on Saturday to take on the Jets. The meeting will be the second of the year between the two Southeast Division teams. Winnipeg was victorious on January 22 at the Verizon Center.
In that game, Jets winger Evander Kane was named the first star with one goal and one assist. Defenseman Tobias Enstrom added three assists and goalie Ondrej Pavelec stopped 32-of-34 shots.
Washington got goals from Matt Hendricks and Troy Brouwer, while goaltender Braden Holtby struggled for the second-straight game, allowing four goals on 39 shots.
This time around, the Capitals will be looking for a different outcome.
Washington enters the game fresh off a 4-1 defeat Wednesday night to the Philadelphia Flyers. Despite the loss, the Caps have been playing better hockey as of late, winning five of their last eight games. Star winger Alexander Ovechkin, who didn't score until the fifth game of the season, has started to find his groove. He now has eight goals on the season.
Mike Ribeiro, who was acquired in the offseason, has been a solid contributor for the Caps. The center leads the team in points, scoring six goals with 16 assists.
Winnipeg enters the matchup having won three in a row and currently sit in a tie for first place in the Southeast Division.
2013 has brought its fair share of injuries to the Jets. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who is a key offensive weapon, missed five games this season. Fellow defenseman, Tobias Enstrom, has missed seven games with an elbow injury. Enstrom leads the team with 11 assists.
Despite the adversity, Winnipeg has found a way to win and will present a tough challenge for the Caps.
This game won't be easy, but with the exception of their last outing against Philly, the Caps have been playing solid team hockey and finally seem to be grasping head coach Adam Oate's system.
Look for Washington to get back into the win column on Saturday with an all-around team effort.
Prediction: Washington 3 Winnipeg 2
Washington Capitals 7-11-1 at Winnipeg Jets: 10-9-1
When: Saturday, March 2nd 3:00 PM ET
Where: MTS Centre Winnipeg, Manitoba
TV: NHL Network
Washington: Mike Ribeiro 22 points (6 G, 16 A)
Winnipeg: Evander Kane 18 points (9 G, 9 A)
Injury Report: (From CBSsports.com)
G Michal Neuvirth (Illness)
D Dimitry Orlov (Upper Body)
D Jack Hillen (Shoulder)
C Marcus Johansson (Upper Body)
C Brooks Laich (Groin)
C Mathieu Perreault (General Soreness)
RW Antti Miettinen (Lower Body)
D Tobias Enstrom (Shoulder)
D Randy Jones (Upper Body)