Pre-game primer: Caps visit Jets

Pre-game primer: Caps visit Jets
October 22, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Alex Ovechkin and the Caps are ready for the road

News and notes as the Capitals [3-5-0] begin their five-game road trip tonight against the Winnipeg Jets [3-3-3]. The game will be televised at 8 p.m. on CSN:

Road trippin’: Tonight begins the longest road trip of the season for the Caps, who will travel 4,890 air miles from D.C. to Winnipeg to Edmonton to Calgary to Vancouver and back home. They’ll arrive back home one week from today, practice at Kettler on Oct. 30 and 31, then head to Philly for a game on Nov. 1. Tonight’s game is a Hockey Fights Cancer event for the jets.

Recent history: The Caps won four of their five games against the Jets last season, including back-to-back wins in Winnipeg that helped turn around their season. The Jets have lost six of their last seven games after starting the season with two straight wins. Tonight marks the end of a six-game homestand.

Jet-setters: Alex Ovechkin has 78 points [38 goals, 40 assists] in 53 career games against the Winnipeg franchise, which includes games against the Atlanta Thrashers. It’s the most points he has against any NHL team. Ovechkin has earned points in six consecutive games against the Jets, dating back to March 23, 2012. Nicklas Backstrom has 34 points [11 goals, 23 assists] in 34 career games against the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise. Mike Green has 26 points [8 goals, 18 assists] in 39 career games against the Thrashers/Jets, which is his most against any team.

Power-ful: The Caps are leading the NHL with a 33.3 percent success rate on the power play [10-for-30].  The 10 power-play goals are the most the Caps have scored in their first eight games of the season since 2001-02 when they had 11. That team finished 3rd in the NHL at 19.4 percent. The Capitals have scored two or more power-play goals in four of their first eight games this season. Seven of Ovechkin’s 10 points this season have come on the power play. All five of Green’s points are on the power play and seven of Backstrom’s nine points have been earned on the man-advantage.

Who’s hot: For the Caps, Ovechkin [7 goals in 8 games] is off to his best start since since 2009-10, when he had nine goals in his first eight games and finished with 50 goals. Jets forward Evander Kane has goals in back-to-back games and four goals in his past three games.

Plus-minus: Marty Erat [plus-1] and Troy Brouwer [plus-1] are the only members of the Caps on the right side of the plus-minus ledger.

Remember me?: Eric Fehr played for the Jets during the 2011-12 season. A native of nearby Winkler, Manitoba, he recorded just two goals and one assist in 35 games for the Jets. In 24 games against his former team, Fehr has five goals and five assists.

Triple threat: Marty Erat’s three-assist night on Saturday was his first since Dec. 4, 2010 as a member of the Predators. It was also the sixth three-assist night of his career.

Tough Buff:  Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien lost 30 pounds over the summer and the results are already showing. He is tied for fourth among NHL defensemen with eight points and is making a strong push to be on the U.S. Olympic team.

Save the date: Tickets for the 2014 Winter Classic between the Red Wing and Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium went on sale today, which means you have one year to save your money for the 2015 Classic between the Capitals and a team to be named later. Ticket prices for the 2014 Classic range from $89 to $279.