On the heels of a two game winning streak (because we’ve reached the point this season that consecutive wins is cause for celebration), the Columbus Blue Jackets welcomed the Washington Capitals to Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets would continue to rely on their youth up and down the lineup, icing a number of first and second year players who had carried the load for the team during the last few weeks. Following his apology to the team on the rink at the Ice Haus on Monday for his poor play on Saturday night, Scott Hartnell was scratched from the lineup, along with Fedor Tyutin. Sergei Bobrovsky returned to the starting lineup in net. To the highlights!
FIRST PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Your CBJ starters: Sergei Bobrovsky, Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson, Ryan Murray, Seth Jones
Chance early!! After Brandon Dubinsky won the opening faceoff, the Blue Jackets took the puck into the offensive zone, and Dubinsky was denied by Braden Holtby on a backhand feed from Boone Jenner at 0:22.
Blue Jackets on the power play! Nicklas Backstrom took an interference penalty on Boone Jenner at 3:02, giving the Blue Jackets an early man advantage.
CHANCE! Boone Jenner saw a rebound opportunity denied at 4:15.
The Blue Jackets failed to score on the power play, despite excellent puck movement. Cam Atkinson and Boone Jenner in particular had standout shifts, resulting in 5 shots on net.
Chance for Washington. Evgeni Kuznetsov received the pass unmarked in the slot at 5:45, but could not get a full shot off against Bobrovsky, and it was easily turned aside.
At 6:57, the first TV timeout, Columbus had outshot Washington 7-1. It was an excellent start to the game for the home team.
Washington pressed hard following the TV timeout. There was an extended period of time spent in the Blue Jackets zone, ending with a Capitals line change and an injured Justin Williams.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL! Following an odd-man rush with William Karlsson, Kerby Rychel buried the puck for his first NHL goal at 9:30. Assists to William Karlsson and Rene Bourque. It was a slick feed across the goal mouth from Karlsson, who found Rychel with a gaping net with Holtby sprawled on the ice.
Capitals goal. Nicklas Backstom tied the game at 12:15. After an easy clearance from the Washington zone, the Capitals top line buried the puck behind Bobrovsky in a tic tac toe play. Assists went to Alexander Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie.
CHANCE! Kerby Rychel was denied on a golden chance at 14:20, but Holtby made the save. Rychel threw the puck in front of the net after retrieving the rebound, but no Blue Jacket was there to slot it home.
Capitals goal. After a defensive zone turnover, Jason Chimera was able to slot it home at 15:52. The assist went to Marcus Johansson. It was an awful clearing pass from Justin Falk that led to the goal, who threw it in front of the net without taking stock of where Johansson was.
The first period ended with little more action, and Columbus went into the locker room trailing Washington 2-1, despite outshooting Washington 12-5.
Dalton Prout and Justin Falk were both on the ice for the goals against Columbus, and the chances could be directly attributed to the 3rd pairing. It was clear that they were outclassed on the ice by the Capitals forwards.
SECOND PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
CHANCE EARLY! Brandon Dubinsky saw his shot bounce just wide at 0:40.
Post for Washington. Andre Burakovsky rang a shot off the inside of the iron at 1:10.
Save by Holtby, who was on his game tonight. He made two big saves off a faceoff to deny Jenner and Dubinsky at 2:30.
Washington on the power play. Justin Falk took a double minor for high sticking Marcus Johansson at 3:03.
Capitals goal. As Columbus took the ice to defend the league’s second best power play, it took all of 13 seconds for Alexander Ovechkin to capitalize at 3:16. Assists went to Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen.
Capitals goal. Nicklas Backstrom redirected a shot home at 4:47. Assists went to Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen.
SAVE! Bobrovsky robbed Karl Alzner at 7:30 with a fast glove hand.
It goes without saying, but Washington was dominating the game at this point, skating rings around Columbus. The Blue Jackets could not maintain consistent offensive zone pressure, execute zone clearances well, or stay out of their own way. It was a poor start to the second period from the hometown squad.
At 8:15, Dalton Prout had a shot sail wide of the net, and Boone Jenner narrowly missed redirecting the rebound home.
Blue Jackets on the power play! Ryan Stanton went off for holding at 9:15.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL!! Boone Jenner buried his own rebound at 9:35 to cut the deficit to two. Assists went to Alexander Wennberg and Seth Jones.
Capitals goal. Andre Burakovsky came right back to restore the three goal lead at 10:25. Assists went to Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams.
FIGHT. Justin Falk and Michael Latta went at it at 11:27.
Jackets on the power play! Following the fight, Marcus Johansson picked up a minor for holding Justin Falk at 11:27.
CROSSBAR! Brandon Dubinsky hit the iron at 13:15.
Washington killed the penalty.
Washington was a step faster than Columbus on this night. No other way to put it. Columbus was not in the same league on this night, in any phase of the game.
At the end of the second period, Columbus trailed 5-2, despite outshooting Washington 23-19. The Blue Jackets would have to shake it off to start the third period if they wanted to have any hope of getting back into the game.
THIRD PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Despite giving up 5 goals in 40 minutes, Coach Tortorella elected to keep Sergei Bobrovsky in net to start the third period.
Washington brought the pressure to Columbus to start the third period, forcing several early defensive zone faceoffs for the Blue Jackets.
Chance for Washington. Seth Jones made an excellent defensive play to block out Alexander Ovechkin at 3:30.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL!! Ryan Murray buried a rebound at 5:07. The assists went to Kerby Rychel and Seth Jones. Excellent play from the youngsters, who worked exceedingly hard to generate the chance that led to the goal. The future of the club right there.
SAVE! Bobrovsky denied Alexander Ovechkin at 6:47.
Rene Bourque went off in pain after blocking a shot high on his body at 9:00.
Penalty shot for Washington. Cody Goloubef hauled down Ovechkin on a breakaway at 10:40.
SAVE! Bobrovsky denied Ovechkin’s attempt with the left pad.
End to end action for several minutes following the penalty shot, but neither team generated any solid chances on goal.
John Tortorella pulled Sergei Bobrovsky at 16:49.
Capitals goal. Marcus Johansson buried the empty netter at 19:37. Assist to Evgeny Kuznetsov.
FINAL: Washington Capitals 6, Columbus Blue Jackets 3
The prettiest highlight of the night was the spectacular picture a friend passed along early in the game.
*** Kerby Rychel
** Nicklas Backstrom
* Evgeni Kuznetsov
Congratulations to Kerby Rychel on scoring his first goal of his NHL career tonight. A milestone moment for the young player, who has shown that he (along with Josh Anderson) absolutely belong with the club moving forward. Torts, there’s blank spaces in the lineup heading into next season- write their name.
It cannot be overstated how poor the third pairing of Justin Falk and Dalton Prout played tonight. They’re a nightmare dressed like a daydream out there, and it is hard to see either finding a spot with the club next season.
Sergei Bobrovsky really fought the puck tonight. It was his first game back from injury and rust was expected, but it was disheartening to see the franchise goaltender fight the puck so much tonight. He did make an outstanding save on Alexander Ovechkin’s penalty shot, to his credit.
Columbus played a solid offensive zone game, really taking the play to Washington. Unfortunately penalties, turnovers, and poor defensive play cost them on this night.
Blue Jackets who were not heard from all night: Jack Johnson, Brandon Saad, Cody Goloubef (outside of his takedown of Alexander Ovechkin, leading to a penalty shot for the Washington captain)
Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner stood out tonight as playing well for Columbus, especially in the offensive zone, generating repeated chances for the hometown squad. Seth Jones played well on the back end as well.
The kids are alright. Boone Jenner and Ryan Murray both tied career high goal totals tonight, and Murray and Seth Jones put up multi-point games. The future of the franchise is bright, no matter how dull this season is. This team will see better days soon. Stick with it.
Columbus remains at home on Thursday night, taking on the Calgary Flames. Faceoff is at 7:00 EST.