One game after dominating their opponent offensively, the Washington Capitals relied on their red-hot goaltender to steal a win.
After earning his first shutout of the season, Braden Holtby is expected to be in net again as his team looks to take advantage of their third straight Western Conference opponent, the Winnipeg Jets, on Wednesday night at the Verizon Center.
Holtby stopped 33 shots and Dmitry Orlov scored with 6:32 left in the third period to lift Washington (14-5-1) to its second straight victory and third in four games, 1-0 over Edmonton on Monday.
"That's the key," Holtby, 6-1-0 with a 1.42 goals-against average in his last seven starts, told the team's official website. "If I can see it, then it's my job to stop it, that trust factor. Guys did a great job of boxing guys out, getting sticks in front, rebounds – being ready to clear them right away and being on the same page with that. It makes the game a lot smoother. It's a hard thing to do for them and they did a really good job."
Washington, 6-2-1 in the last nine, defeated Colorado 7-3 in its previous game Saturday, the second of a five-game homestand. It wasn't nearly as dominant against the Oilers, who carried play for extended stretches and held a 23-15 shot advantage through two periods.
"Tonight certainly wasn't our best game, but we were able to find a way," forward Brooks Laich said. "At the end of the day, that's what you have to do. Good teams do it. We were able to pick up two points."
Edmonton gave the Capitals trouble with its speed, but Wednesday's style might be more to Washington's liking. The matchup pits two of the NHL's biggest and most physical teams.
The Capitals could also be facing a frustrated opponent in the Jets (10-10-2), who failed to win their third straight when they yielded three third-period goals and lost 4-1 to visiting Colorado on Monday.
''You don't come out of too many losses thinking you deserved to win the game," defenseman Tyler Myers said. "We did a lot of really good things tonight. We controlled the puck in their end. I just thought we could have done a better job of getting the puck to the net. But there's a lot of positives to take away from this game.''
Toby Enstrom gave Winnipeg the lead in the first period but the Avalanche took control in the final 20 minutes, holding a 13-5 shot advantage.
"We had a lot of good chances," Michael Hutchinson, who made 25 saves, told the team's official website. "If we keep moving the puck around that crisp and keep getting as many chances as we did, the puck's going to find its way into the net more often than not. We have to keep going and keep our confidence up."
That might not be easy to do with Winnipeg opening a three-game trip. The Jets have lost five straight on the road, getting outscored 24-10.
They've also dropped three straight at Washington, giving up 14 goals. Winnipeg's 3.09 goals allowed per contest is among the worst marks in the NHL.
Winnipeg did take the latest meeting 3-0 on March 21 behind 28 saves from Ondrej Pavelec, though Hutchinson is expected to make his first career appearance against the Capitals.
Orlov has a goal in two straight games.
Alex Ovechkin has 42 goals in 57 games against the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise, his highest total against an opponent, along with 42 assists. He had scored eight times in a six-game goal streak in the series before the March 21 shutout.