Instant analysis: Capitals 4, Jets 2

Instant analysis: Capitals 4, Jets 2
February 6, 2014, 9:45 pm
(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

Instant analysis of the Capitals’4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night at Verizon Center:

How it happened: Tom Wilson, Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer scored third-period goals and Braden Holtby stopped 34 of 36 shots to lead the Capitals to a come-from-behind victory.

What it means: The Capitals won for just the fourth time in 14 games and moved within one point of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

Ovi turns 40: Ovechkin’s 40th goal marked the sixth time in his career he’s hit that mark and the first time since 2009-10 when he scored 50. Ovechkin is on pace for 58 goals.

[MORE: John Kerry drops puck at Caps-Jets]

Goal breakdown: The Caps took a 1-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the game on Troy Brouwer’s third goal in six games and 12th of the season. Linemates Casey Wellman and Marcus Johansson outworked Olli Jokinen and Zach Bogosian behind the net to gain possession of the puck and Johnasson fed to Brouwer in the crease for a backhander past Ondrej Pavelec. The Jets answered with goals by Bryan Little in the first period and Dustin Byfuglien in the second. Little’s shot was stopped by Braden Holtby, but the puck caromed off Marty Erat’s arm and into the net for Little’s 18th of the season. Byfuglien gave the Jets their first lead 5:41 into the second period. He was the trailer on a 2-on-2 and when Caps defensemen Connor Carrick and Dmitry Orlov picked up Olli Jokinen and Devin Setoguchi, Johansson failed to pick up Byfuglien, who roofed a shot over Braden Holtby’s left arm for his 13th of the season. Tom Wilson tied the score 3:38 into the third period when he wristed a shot through a forest of legs and sticks for his second goal of the season. Defensemen Julen Brouillette and Patrick Wey picked up their first NHL points with assists on the goal. Alex Ovechkin gave the Caps the lead at the 7:46 mark when he backhanded a shot over Nicklas Backtrom and Tobias Enstrom for his 40th of the season, and Troy Brouwer finished off the Jets by finishing off a 2-on-1 with Marcus Johansson.  

Surprise starter: Braden Holtby learned just before the game that he was starting when Michal Neuvirth showed up ill. Neuvirth was coughing badly in the Caps’ dressing room after the team’s morning skate. He was scheduled to make his fourth straight start.

Youth is served: The Capitals dressed three defensemen with a total of 19 games of NHL experience – Connor Carrick [18], Patrick Wey [1] and Julien Brouillette [0].

Checks of the game: Alex Ovechkin leveled defenseman Mark Stuart in the second period, drawing big cheers from the crowd. Jason Chimera also drew some oohs and aahs when he checked Wheeler into his own bench and Wheeler came back to the ice to drop Chimera with a check.

Ringy-dingy: The Caps came within inches of tying the score with 12:07 left in the second period when Eric Fehr’s slapper deflected off a Jets defenseman and Joel Ward and off the crossbar behind Pavelec.

Look ahead: The Capitals will conduct their final practice before the Olympic break Friday at 11 a.m. at Kettler. They close their pre-Olympic schedule