The Washington Times - December 16, 2011, 02:36PM

Mike Knuble knew it in the first days of the Dale Hunter the coach era. He said the line between winning and losing would be thin – a lot of tight games where one play makes all the difference.

Thursday night was yet another perfect example. Michal Neuvirth and Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec went save-for-save for most of the game. It was similar to the game exactly a month earlier – Nov. 15 in Nashville as Tomas Vokoun and Pekka Rinne stole the show.


That Predators game ended as a 3-1 Washington Capitals loss, with players and then-coach Bruce Boudreau lamenting blowing a late lead. This time was much, much different.

Alex Ovechkin took a shot – a seemingly harmless one – and it found its way through Pavelec and into the net with just 1:14 left.

It helped that the Caps scored much later in this previously scoreless game, but it also helped that Hunter went to the Jason Chimera-Brooks Laich-Joel Ward line after the goal. Shutting down the Jets on the next play ensured there wouldn’t be a replay of last time, when Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer and Nicklas Backstrom were on the ice as the Predators tied the score.

And though the Jets got a few chances late, Neuvirth was up to the task to pick up his first shutout since Game 2 of the Rangers series.