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Jets try to shake off injury issues vs. Capitals

Feb 19, 2015 - 3:43 PM ( - The Winnipeg Jets continued to set the pace in the Western Conference's wild card race earlier this week, but their latest win didn't come without a cost.

The Jets try to shake off another big injury on Thursday night when they attempt to end their series losing streak to the Washington Capitals.

Winnipeg has won four of its last five games following a 5-4 shootout decision over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, giving the club a four-point edge for a playoff spot.

However, forward Mathieu Perreault suffered what head coach Paul Maurice called a significant lower-body injury in the game and could miss the rest of the regular season. He has totaled 18 goals and 18 assists in 56 games.

Forward Drew Stafford also suffered a lower-body injury versus the Oilers and is day-to-day. Stafford was acquired last week along with defenseman Tyler Myers from Buffalo in the Evander Kane trade.

If Stafford can't play tonight, Dustin Byfuglien is expected to shift from defense to forward, where he began the season before a rash of injuries prompted his move to the blue line.

The injuries put a damper on the thrilling win versus the Oilers as Blake Wheeler opened the shootout with a goal. Netminder Michael Hutchinson then did his part by stopping Nail Yakupov, Derek Roy and Jordan Eberle to give his team the victory.

Bryan Little had two goals and an assist while Andrew Ladd and Myers also scored for the Jets. Hutchinson stopped 18 shots.

"I feel like I'm learning something new about the group every day," Myers said. "Tonight, we showed a lot of resilience."

Myers had picked up his first points with the Jets in Saturday's shootout win over Detroit, collecting a pair of assists.

The Capitals also are making a solid playoff push as they went 3-1-0 on a recent road trip, with Tuesday's 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh pulling them within a point of both the Penguins and New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Joel Ward had the winning goal late in the third period versus the Penguins, scoring during a 5-on-3 power play, while John Carlson capped the scoring with a short-handed empty-net goal.

Alex Ovechkin netted his NHL-leading 37th goal of the season, and 14th in his past 14 games, while Braden Holtby made 32 saves.

"It was a real battle out there tonight," said Ovechkin. "It's always like that when we play these guys. We get excited and have a lot of motivation for these games."

The Capitals have won six in a row versus the Jets, netting at least four goals in each of the past five encounters.

Holtby is 6-2-0 with a 2.35 goals against average, .929 save percentage and two shutouts in eight meetings with Winnipeg.

Hutchinson has never faced the Capitals, while fellow Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec is 9-14-2 against them with a 2.96 GAA, .905 save percentage and two shutouts.