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Hours after coach Paul Maurice resigns, Jets fall to Capitals

Sportsnaut
Dec 17, 2021; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates the second period goal by Washington Capitals right wing Daniel Sprong (10) on Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2021; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates the second period goal by Washington Capitals right wing Daniel Sprong (10) on Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Conor Sheary scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period for the visiting Washington Capitals on Friday in a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, who lost their head coach and a game all in a 12-hour span.

Friday started with Jets head coach Paul Maurice resigning his position in his ninth season. Dave Lowry was named interim head coach for the remainder of the season but could not help Winnipeg avoid its third consecutive defeat and its fourth loss in the last five games.

Brett Leason, Daniel Sprong, Michael Sgarbossa and Alex Ovechkin also scored goals for the Capitals. Vitek Vanecek made 40 saves as Washington improved to 7-2-2 since Nov. 24 and rebounded from an overtime defeat at Chicago on Wednesday.

Brenden Dillon and Josh Morrissey scored and Connor Hellebuyck had 34 saves for the Jets, who were 13-10-5 to start the season under Maurice and were in fifth place in the Central Division.

After a scoreless opening period, Leason gave Washington a 1-0 lead 3:11 into the second, scoring from the slot after a pass from Sgarbossa. Sprong made it 2-0 just 5 1/2 minutes later from the left faceoff spot after a feed from Aliaksei Protas.

Dillon scored his first as a member of the Jets from the left circle at 14:32 of the second period, doing it against his former team as Winnipeg pulled within a goal.

The Jets peppered the Capitals goal to start the third period, finally getting even at 2-all when Morrissey beat Vanecek on the power play for his fifth of the season.

Sheary’s game-winner, his seventh, came after he pounced on a loose puck in front of the Jets’ goal for the opportunistic score. Sgarbossa scored into an empty net with 2:40 remaining, his second, while Ovechkin added an empty-netter with 50.7 seconds left, his 22nd.

The Capitals were without Tom Wilson (upper-body injury), while Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk all were out because of COVID-19 protocols. Blake Wheeler (lower body) was out for the Jets.

–Field Level Media