Chiarot scores in 3rd to lead Jets past Capitals 3-1
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Ben Chiarot wanted to play well against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The defenceman did just that by scoring the tiebreaking goal with 7:09 left in the third period to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
“We’ve been talking about getting on a bit of a roll here,” Chiarot said after Winnipeg’s third straight win. “We’re excited, the Stanley Cup champs coming to town you want to bring your best effort.”
Chiarot’s shot beat Capitals goalie Pheonix Copley on the glove side for his third of the season.
“Their (defense) was a little gapped off and I just tried to put one on net,” Chiarot said. “It went off (John) Carlson’s shaft and it dipped on the goalie a little bit. There wasn’t much to it, it was just a lucky shot.”
Mark Scheifele had a power-play score for Winnipeg, and Kyle Connor added an empty-netter to seal the victory. Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves for the Jets, who’ve won three straight in their four-game homestand.
Jakub Vrana scored for Washington, and Copley stopped 21 shots.
The Capitals were coming off a 5-2 win over Minnesota on Tuesday in the opener of a four-game road trip.
Copley was in net for that win and had to quickly get ready for this game because starter Braden Holtby was a late-day scratch with an undisclosed upper-body injury. University of Manitoba women’s goalie coach Gavin McHale, 31, was tapped to be Washington’s emergency backup.
Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov left the ice in the first period soon after a check to the head by Jets forward Brandon Tanev and didn’t return.
Washington coach Todd Reirden said Kuznetsov was kept out for precautionary reasons. Holtby is receiving some treatment after he skated with the team’s goalie coach earlier on Wednesday and will be evaluated.
“I was really proud of our guys tonight,” Reirden said. “You lose an elite player like Kuznetsov and you’ve got Pheonix Copley playing his first-ever back-to-back.
“I really liked our effort. That first period was outstanding, one of our best periods of the year.”
It took the Jets almost 13 minutes to get their first shot on goal, but 14 seconds later Vrana used his team’s eighth shot to fire the puck high past Hellebuyck for a 1-0 lead with 7 minutes left in the opening period.
Scheifele scored on the power play at 5:05 of the second, 7 seconds after Alex Ovechkin went to the penalty box for interference. It was his 10th goal.
The teams went into the game Nos. 1 and 2 in the league on the power play, with the Jets at 34 per cent and the Capitals at 30.3. Winnipeg was 1 for 3 on the power play and the Capitals 0 for 3.
″(Hellebuyck) made a lot of big saves,” Scheifele said. “He’s the backbone of our team and he does that every night. .. We had a lot of big blocks, including one from (Jacob) Trouba on (Ovechkin). We had a lot of good shots from our D-men, so it was a good team effort.”
Hellebuyck said facing Ovechkin during a power play is an experience.
“Not very fun,” he said. “The guy can shoot. He’s got a lot of power play goals and you’re alone with him. It’s a scary thought.”
Winnipeg had squeezed Washington’s shot advantage to 20-16 after the middle period. The Capitals had a power play late in the third, but couldn’t solve Hellebuyck.
NOTES: Washington’s T.J. Oshie was flipped to the ice by Josh Morrissey late in the game and look dazed after the play. Reirden had no injury update for Oshie after the game. ... Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler had an assist, extending his point streak to 11 games (two goals, 18 assists). ... Scheifele has four goals and three assists in his past three games.
Capitals: At Colorado on Friday night.
Jets: Host Buffalo on Friday night in the finale of a four-game homestand.