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Game 16 Recap: Jackets 3 Capitals 2

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Jackets’ best-ever start continues

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in a week, the Jackets defeat the Washington Capitals, this time in their barn.

A rare matinee, the Jackets traveled to DC looking to extend their best-ever start to a season. It was all Washington for long stretches of the opening period, however, with the Caps getting on the board just 3:11 into the game.

After a failed clear by Jack Johnson, Nicklas Backstrom gathered the puck and threw it on net, where it deflected off Johnson’s skate and behind Sergei Bobrovsky.

1-0 Capitals: Nicklas Backstrom (Unassisted)

The Caps continued to press, but the game was hectic for either squad. Blame it on the early start if you want, but both teams at times looked sleepy and disorganized. The end of the period saw some four-on-four hockey with Scott Hartnell and Brett Connolly in the box with matching roughing calls, but there would be no change to the score.

The Jackets tied the game early in the second period while on the man advantage. After a faceoff win, Zach Werenski gained the puck and passed it to Alexander Wennberg, stationed at the right dot. Wennberg went down-low to Nick Foligno, who then looked to send the puck cross-crease, but the puck deflected off the skate of John Carlson and behind Braden Holtby.

1-1: Nick Foligno (Alexander Wennberg, Zach Werenski)

The Jackets would go to the powerplay shortly after, but the advantage was cut short when Brandon Saad was whistled for setting the pick on Daniel Winnik. There was nothing doing while four-on-four, but the Caps struck while on their abbreviated powerplay. Alexander Ovechkin wired a disrupted pass from Backstrom from his office at the left dot.

2-1 Capitals: Alexander Ovechkin (Nicklas Backstrom, Matt Niskanen)

Like in the first period, there was another sequence of matching roughing calls in the latter half of the frame, with Foligno and Backstrom mixing it up. No harm done for either team, however.

Right off the opening faceoff to start the third period the Jackets once again tied the game. Saad gathered the loose puck in the corner to Holtby’s right, and fired it out front. After ricocheting off skates Brandon Dubinsky gathered the puck, deking out Holtby and sliding it under him and over the goal line. The Saad-Dubinsky-Cam Atkinson line would remain together for the rest of the game.

2-2: Brandon Dubinsky (Cam Atkinson, Brandon Saad)

The teams started to up the intensity as the clock wound down, trading chances. Both teams were still playing it a bit safe, but the break came in the Jackets favor with 1:34 left in regulation.

Backstrom was sent to the box after allegedly high-sticking Foligno- the replay showed that the Jackets’ captain may have sold the call- but nonetheless the Jackets and their NHL-best powerplay went to work.

Atkinson kicked off the play by preventing a clear along the boards by Tom Wilson, allowing Werenski to pick up the puck. He slid it over to Sam Gagner, who found Foligno to Holtby’s right. Foligno then went cross-ice to Wennberg, who fired the puck into the open net.

3-2 Jackets: Alexander Wennberg (Nick Foligno, Sam Gagner)

Holtby was pulled in the last minute, and the Caps took their timeout with 34 seconds left, but the Jackets held on to win their fourth in a row.

FINAL SCORE: 3-2 Jackets

The Jackets embark on a difficult four-in-six stretch starting tomorrow evening in Colorado.

*Due to the matinee, this post will serve as both the Quick Takes and full recap.