It was not a good day in Blue Jackets land heading into tonight’s clash with the Washington Capitals. The big news from the team today was that Sergei Bobrovsky was sent back to the Injured Reserve, retroactive to December 31st, without playing a game since his activation. Bobrovsky reportedly aggravated his groin injury earlier this week in practice before he could make a start. Curtis McElhinney would instead man the net on this night, backed up by emergency recall Anton Forsberg (which was an event in and of itself, as Forsberg's gear was lost en route to Columbus). In other news, Matt Calvert was announced as out for 4 weeks with a lower body injury, and David Clarkson drew in for Calvert. David Savard was activated though, so at least there was one bit of positive news from the team today. All of this before the best team in the Eastern Conference even took the ice against our beloved Jackets. Manning the opposing net tonight was Braden Holtby, who was 16-0-1 in his last 17 games coming into tonight. Oh well. To the highlights.
FIRST PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
You CBJ starters: Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson, Ryan Murray, Jack Johnson, Curtis McElhinney
Jackets on the power play! Dmitry Orlov took a slashing penalty at 1:24, as he broke Brandon Saad’s stick.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL! Jack Johnson buries one on the power play at 1:32! After a scrum in front of the net off the faceoff, Johnson crashed the net and buried a rebound. Assists went to Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno.
Washington has lost 32 man games to injury this season. Columbus is at 139. Just pointing that out.
Alexander Ovechkin had a mini breakway at 3:40, but the puck rolled off his stick and McElhinney poked it away.
Columbus carried the run of play early- through 6 minutes, the Jackets hadn’t allowed a shot on net.
Following a Dalton Prout defensive zone turnover (stop me if you’ve heard that before), Nick Foligno leveled Justin Williams.
Capitals power play. Booner Jenner went to the box for tripping at 7:04. This followed an extended shift in the defensive zone.
Capitals goal. T.J. Oshie buried it seconds into the power play at 7:12 following a tic-tac-toe play. Assists went to Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom. The goal came on Washington’s first shot on goal.
KNEEL BEFORE SAAD. Brandon Saad answers right back at 7:56! After Alexander Wennberg won a puck battle, Wennberg found Saad alone in front of the net, and Saad put it behind Holtby. Assists went to Alexander Wennberg and Hartnell.
Columbus clearly had a gameplan of crashing the Washington net, and it was working early.
Capitals power play. Rene Bourque took a holding penalty in the offensive zone at 10:00. Not a smart penalty to take, especially against one of the better power play units in the league.
Capitals goal. Stupid penalties will always bite you. Jason Chimera buried a redirected puck on the power play at 11:47. Assists to Evgeni Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen.
Capitals power play. Ryan Johansen leveled Tom Wilson, and saw the box for interference, hitting Wilson with no focus on the puck. Johansen sat at 13:18.
Washington failed to generate any solid chances, as Columbus successfully killed the penalty. One for three on the kill thus far.
Dalton Prout and Fedor Tyutin may combine to make up the slowest defensive pairing in the NHL. Fetching a routine loose puck, Tyutin nearly got beat to the puck for a breakaway by a Capital at 17:30. The need for a defenseman remains ever-present.
Wennberg-Hartnell-Saad was the Blue Jackets best line in the first period.
The period ended with the Jackets and the Capitals tied at 2. Columbus outshot Washington 13-8.
SECOND PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Columbus opened with some pressure, forcing Holtby to make a save on a Murray wrist shot at 0:33.
Capitals power play. Columbus took their second offensive zone penalty, as David Clarkson hit Tom Wilson with a high stick at 2:36, and the stick got wedged in his helmet between the helmet itself and the visor.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL! William Karlsson put the Blue Jackets in the lead right off the faceoff at 2:45. Karlsson blocked an Ovechkin shot, took it the length of the ice and buried it. It was a nifty move that saw Karlsson fake out Holtby, using Atkinson as a decoy. It was a beautiful move. Ignore all of that. Barry Trotz challenged the goal for offside, and won, as Cam Atkinson failed to hold the line. Onward.
After the shorthanded goal was overturned, Columbus killed the power play. Neither team generated any real chances for the duration of the power play.
CHANCE! Brandon Dubinsky saw his backhand attempt denied at 5:50.
SAVE! McElhinney denied Oshie and Ovechkin in rapid succession to go to a TV timeout at 6:28.
Chance for Washington. After a defensive zone turnover, Nicklas Backstrom ripped a shot just wide at 8:15.
David Clarkson left the bench following a big hit along the wall from Dmitry Orlov at 8:54. No word on what happened.
CHANCE! Atkinson stole the puck from T.J. Oshie, and Jenner ripped a shot right into Holtby’s shoulder at 9:05.
Columbus has, really, been the best team on the ice tonight. Through 30 minutes, the Jackets had played the better of 5 on 5 hockey, outshot Washington 17-13, and blocked 14 shots to Washington’s 1.
There was some end to end action following the halfway mark, but no real chances of note developed.
GLOVE SAVE AND A BEAUTY!! Curtis McElhinney absolutely robbed Jason Chimera on a one timer from the circle at 13:57.
Capitals goal. Tom Wilson threw a puck in front of the net following a poor play from McElhinney, where it was redirected into the net by Marcus Johansson. Tom Wilson drew the lone assist. It’s hard to tell what McElhinney was doing, as he stopped the puck but let it sit there, when no one but Capitals were bearing down on him, and he had actually moved the puck out of Justin Falk’s way. Poor play from the Columbus netminder at 16:07.
Nick Foligno hit Braden Holtby under the mask with the blade of his stick at 17:38, and knocked the mask off of the Capitals netminder. No penalty was called, but the play was whistled down as Holtby didn’t have his mask.
MCELHINNEY FLASHES THE GLOVE!! Curtis McElhinney robbed Nicklas Backstrom at 18:34.
The second period ended without any further fanfare. Columbus trailed Washington 3-2, despite outshooting the visitors 19-15.
THIRD PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Nick Foligno and Tom Wilson exchanged words at the start of the third period, most likely regarding the hit to Holtby. Also, David Clarkson was ruled out with an upper body injury.
CAPITALS DENIED!! McElhinney saves it, and the Jackets clear it out of the crease at 2:10.
Borque-Saad-William Karlsson had a solid offensive zone shift after the zone clearance.
CHANCE!! Dubinsky and Jenner worked an excellent play, but Holtby denied Jenner after a fantastic feed from Dubinsky at 4:00.
Jackets on the power play! T.J. Oshie went off for delay of game after throwing the puck into the crowd at 4:15.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL!! Jack Johnson let a shot fly from the blue line, and it beat Holtby at 4:47. The assists went to Ryan Johansen and David Savard.
Capitals goal. That didn’t last long. Caught on a bad change, Evgeni Kuznetsov buried one at 5:27, following a nice feed from Tom Wilson. Dalton Prout was caught puck watching in the neutral zone, and left Johnson out to dry on a 2 on 1. Similar to what we’ve seen all season from Prout.
CHANCE! Bourque had 2 in quick succession denied at 8:45.
Capitals power play. Scott Hartnell took another dumb penalty, this one for unsportsmanlike conduct at 9:20, for throwing the puck in the net long after the whistle had gone. Kind of a soft call, but Hartnell is not going to see the benefit of the doubt. Torts was displeased.
McElhinney made a number of saves of Niskanen and Ovechkin, without any changes to the kill unit, and the Jackets killed the penalty. The same 4 were out there the whole 2 minutes.
End to end action for several minutes. Neither team really mustered a quality scoring chance through the 17 minute mark.
Save! Jason Chimera saw his backhand denied by McElhinney at 17:15.
McElhinney was pulled at 18:15.
KNEEL BEFORE SAAD. With the net empty, Jack Johnson saved it at the line. He then found Saad, who buried it for his team leading 16th of the season at 18:52. Assists to Jack Johnson and Cam Atkinson.
Bettman point! The teams went to overtime tied at 4, with Columbus outshooting Washington 28-27.
BONUS HOCKEY HIGHLIGHTS
Jack Johnson saw his shot blocked at 0:15.
McElhinney went down awkwardly following a save, and fell very hard on his left leg. He was in some pain. It was a non-contact injury, and it looked ugly. Anton Forsberg got loose, and was forced out of the game. McElhinney tried hard to stay in the game, but could not do it. At 0:55, McElhinney gingerly made his way down the tunnel.
Brandon Dubinsky was forced to take a slashing penalty on Evgeni Kuznetsov at 2:04 after a bad shift.
Ovechkin’s personal shooting gallery was turned aside by Forsberg at 3:04.
SAVE! Forsberg denied Backstrom from the right circle at 3:15. It went off Forsberg’s shoulder and off the post.
The Jackets successfully killed the Dubinsky minor penalty.
Jackets on the power play! With 29.6 seconds to go in overtime, Evgeni Kuznetsov went off for hooking Brandon Saad.
Neither team scored, so the teams went to a shootout. Forsberg was appearing in his first NHL shootout.
Washington: Oshie scored, Kuznetsov denied, Backstrom denied
Columbus: Atkinson denied, Dubinsky scored, Johansen scores
FINAL: Washington Capitals 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 5
*** Ryan Johansen
** Brandon Saad
* Jack Johnson
Rushing Sergei Bobrovsky back from a groin injury (one that has plagued him over the years, no less) in this wasted season seems pretty pointless, and it is a move the front office needs to answer for. There is no point in bringing players back this year unless you are 100% certain they are healthy.
It’s never a good idea to give the #2 power play unit in the NHL 3 man advantage opportunities in the first period, especially when 2 of the penalties (Johansen’s and Bourque’s) were completely avoidable.
Playing 5 on 5, Columbus was extremely competitive with Washington tonight. Taking penalties was the undoing of this team tonight, as on so many other nights this year.
Great response by the Jackets when down multiple times to get back and force overtime.
Hopefully McElhinney is okay. He played very well until he was forced out of the game in overtime.
Just when I write this team off, when I think this team is dead and listless, they do things like this. What a fun night. From all the stepbacks, the bad goals given up, a cold goalie coming in to overtime against the best team in the Eastern Conference- this team never said die. THIS, this type of game, this type of team, is what we’ve hoped for and wanted all season. Maybe, just maybe, Tortorella is getting them turned around.
#MatthewsWatch: Columbus is 1 point "ahead" of the 29th place Buffalo Sabres, with Columbus having played one more game than Buffalo.
The Blue Jackets are home again on Tuesday to face the Minnesota Wild. Faceoff is at 7:00 EST.