August 28, 2015

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Capitals blank Jets 1-0




Game preview:

The Jets, winners of five straight at home and eight of their last nine here, are just one point off the line in the Eastern Conference with a 14-12-4.

Winnipeg has moved forward after a poor start, largely because they have been able to generate some regular offence. And that has come from finding some workable combinations.

One of them has been the unit of Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane.

Wheeler and Little were mired in dreadful early-season slumps, but both have caught fire lately.

Wheeler has nine points in his last eight games after getting just two in his first eight.

“There’s going to be more of those,” Wheeler said this morning. “In your career, it’s going to happen. It’s just that you have to work through it. You become a better player, a better person. All good stuff comes from it as long as you just stay with it and don’t get down on yourself.

“It sucks when you’re going through it. At the time, I was miserable, but I think it’s made me a better player. It helps me focus every game because I don’t want to every slip up and get into a funk like that again.”

Wheeler has become something of the playmaker on the line, and has two goals and 18 assists this season. He said that’s not unusual.

“Throughout my career, I’ve always thought pass first and that’s driven coaches crazy,” Wheeler said. “Pretty much every coach I’ve had since high school has been, ‘Shoot the puck more.’

“I’ve kind of been fortunate to be paired with guys who put the puck in the net so I think we’ve found some really good chemistry.

“Give them the puck in good situations and they’ve been burying it.”

Injured centre Nik Antropov sounds doubtful for yet another game tonight, though coach Claude Noel didn’t rule him out this morning. Antropov has missed five of the last six games.

Right-winger Antti Miettinen has been delayed getting to Winnipeg and might arrive later today. He certainly won’t play tonight and might not be in the lineup until next week.

One bit of good news that seems to be imminent is that injured defenceman Tobias Enstrom, who broke his collarbone in late October, is nearly ready to go.

Noel hinted at that on Wednesday and said again this morning that Enstrom could well be in the lineup Saturday when the Anaheim Ducks are here.


Updated on Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 1:31 PM CST: Adds slideshow.

9:06 PM: Updates with result after two periods

10:10 PM: Add final result

10:56 PM: Adds quotes

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