The big news prior to puck drop was the healthy scratch of Fedor Tyutin, a surprise move by coach John Tortorella, who's still evaluating what he's been handed for a roster. In for Tyutin was Kevin Connauton, who was his usual self- making things happen offensively with the occasional misstep in the defensive zone.
Overall, this game was a snoozefest, and we should all get used to this. From a technical standpoint, the Jackets executed Torts' plan to perfection for a vast majority of the game. The first period saw the Jackets suffocate the Capitals offense- Washington didn't register their first shot until almost seven minutes into the game.
Ryan Johansen returned to the lineup, and at times seemed re-energized. He was more physical than we've seen him this season, including a big hit on Alexander Ovechkin, dropping the Caps' captain to the ice after the latter gave him a bump.
The teams traded powerplays midway through the first, but neither team could convert. The Jackets' PK, which was ranked 29th in the league going into the game, was very aggressive and seems on the right track to climb out of the cellar. The powerplay seemed a bit forced, with Jack Johnson force-feeding the puck to Cam Atkinson in the slot, with negative results. Back to the playbook, gents.
Washington earned a powerplay late in the first, when Matt Calvert tripped up T.J. Oshie. Sergei Bobrovsky bailed his team out with a huge save on an Ovechkin one-timer from his usual spot, and an even better save on the rebound attempt. I'm confident in saying that we've almost got our Bob back.
The second period barely deserves mention. For the first fifteen minutes, the Jackets continued to stifle, with one notable offensive chance by who else- Boone Jenner. Boone came oh-so-close to improving his bid for the Cy Young award.
The Caps broke the deadlock with 5:44 left in the second. Justin Williams was left unchecked up-high, and one-timed a Marcus Johansson pass by Bobrovsky, who was screened by Calvert.
The Jackets would get a late powerplay with Tom Wilson in the box, and though they generated some chances, Caps goalie Braden Holtby maintained the 1-0 score.
From a purely entertainment perspective, the third period was equally as shit as the previous two. Washington would go up by two after a lucky bounce off the glass in their favor got past Dalton Prout, leading to a three-on-one with Ovechkin providing the tic, Nicklas Backstrom the tac, and finally Oshie the toe.
The Jackets made it interesting with a Calvert jam goal at 14:45. Connauton did well to get the puck behind the Washington net, where it made its way to Calvert who backhanded the puck into the net. The Caps challenged the goal call, but the call stood.
The most exciting moment of the game came with slightly more than two minutes left. Tom Wilson wired a shot on Bobrovsky, beating him. The puck trickled toward the open net, but William Karlsson made a terrific play to clear the puck off the goal line. Wild Bill has thrived under Tortorella, and it's a wonderful thing to see.
Bobrovsky was pulled with 1:48 left, but the Jackets couldn't tie it up.
FINAL SCORE: 2-1 Capitals.
The Jackets are back home tomorrow evening against the Jets.
For the advanced stats for this game, be sure to check out War on Ice.