Claude Noel wasn’t that upset about how his Winnipeg Jets started Friday night. The Washington Capitals dominated, and took an early lead by cracking goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.
Dale Hunter wasn’t that impressed with how the desperate Jets, playing for their season, came out.
“Not in the first period or so,” the Caps’ coach said. “We took it to them.”
But the lead wasn’t enough. First it was Ben Maxwell scoring his second career goal and first of the season. Then Bryan Little 1:11 later.
The third period was a showcase in the Caps turtling and the Jets pressing (shot advantage was 17-2 Winnipeg), the end result being Spencer Machacek’s first career NHL goal to tie it.
“Philosophy just going into the third was just get everything on net,” Machacek said. “You never know what could happen. Every line was going and we had a lot of pressure on them.”
Tim Stapleton’s overtime winner completed the Jets’ comeback that saved their season. They could have used two points to the Caps’ none, but the playoff hopes are still alive after this one. They’re four back of Washington and eighth place and have a game in hand.
“It feels awesome,” Machacek said. “Us to be able to come back and get the two points tonight, it’s unfortunate we gave them one point, but it’s a step, definitely.”
Stapleton, who is a little more used to scoring goals at this level, said he was only going to enjoy this for the plane ride to Nashville, as the Jets face the Predators on Saturday night .
“For the fans of Winnipeg it’s exciting. You know they’re going to keep cheering,” Stapleton said. “I’m just happy we got the two points and that’s all that really matters. The hard part and the fun part is we’ve got to play again tomorrow against a really good team and two points are going to be crucial.”