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Bread Rises in Game One: Blue Jackets 4, Capitals 3 (OT)

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Panarin wins it for Columbus in overtime

Columbus Blue Jackets v Washington Capitals - Game One Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

An overtime goal.

The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired Artemi Panarin for tonight. Sure, he scored 82 points in 81 games and helped the team make the playoffs. But after an unceremonious exit at the hands of Pittsburgh last April, the Blue Jackets traded for the Russian winger in the hope that he’d push the Blue Jackets over the hump in the playoffs.

On Thursday night in Game One against the Washington Capitals, he delivered. Panarin tallied three points, the biggest coming at 6:02 of overtime. Ian Cole sold out to clear the puck out of the zone for a long lead pass to Panarin, who blew past Dmitry Orlov and tucked an otherwordly beautiful shot into the top right corner.

One thing the Jackets absolutely could not do in Game One: take penalties. So what’d they do? They gave the Capitals six power plays, allowing two early goals on one major penalty, and lost Josh Anderson to the related game misconduct near the end of the first. This team loves to play from behind, though, and they pulled out of their self-dug hole. Then they did it again. Seth Jones played a masterful 30:59 and scored the game-tying goal to force overtime. Sergei Bobrovsky earned the win with 27 saves.

Artemi Panarin is worth every penny. The CBJ did everything they weren’t supposed to do and they won. The Blue Jackets have a series lead for the first time in franchise history.

First Period

Washington earned its first power play with 15:08 to go when Nick Foligno went off for goaltender interference. He was shoved into Philipp Grubauer by Lars Eller, but the officials didn’t see it that way. An atrocious call for the Caps to get their first man advantage of the series.

The feared Caps power play did not strike here, though. Two big defensive plays from Seth Jones and a key blocker save from Bob contributed to a confident early kill.

Five-on-five play didn’t last for long. Ian Cole went off for hooking shortly after (and it could’ve been holding) at 10:59 for another Capitals power play. The Caps set up shop in the Columbus end and managed a couple of shots, but the Jackets were able to kill the power play without major incident.

Cam Atkinson created the Jackets’ best chance on a partial breakaway (from a beautiful Markus Nutivaara pass) with 5:18 to go. He missed the shot, but had drawn a TJ Oshie hooking penalty a few seconds earlier.

The less said about the power play, the better. Poor zone entries, no sustained pressure, Cam Atkinson tried some fancy passes…one shot and nothing to show for it.

It got worse. With 2:37 left in the period, Josh Anderson laid a big hit on Michal Kempny, a hit the officials deemed enough for a five-minute boarding call and a game misconduct. Iffy call for a misconduct and the Capitals made the Blue Jackets pay almost 30 seconds later. Kuznetsov threw the puck on net and TJ Oshie got into Bob for what looked a whole lot like the gray area we know as interference. Tortorella challenged and lost.

1-0 Capitals at 17:57

The Capitals scored with their next shot. Evgeni Kuznetsov over the glove of Bob.

2-0 Capitals at 18:21

It’s a waste of time to complain about the officiating. Regardless, you would’ve been hard pressed to come up with a worse scenario than taking three penalties—one of them a major—and losing your one of your best forwards while going down two goals in the opening period of your opening playoff game. Guess it could’ve been three goals. Shots were 9-4.

Second Period

The penalty kill did its job thanks to Bob, fighting off the remaining 2:34 of Anderson’s boarding infraction to start the second.

And then…a sign of life. Boone Jenner grabbed a puck out of the air in the neutral zone and pulled up in front of Grubauer, allowing Wennberg to speed toward the net. Jenner laced a pass perfectly through the zone for No. 10 and Wennberg tapped it in, cutting Washington’s lead to 2-1.

2-1 Capitals at 4:48

Oh, and then this happened soon after:

The game settled down from there, but Bob made a 10-bell save around the four minute mark seconds before another Washington power play. Alex Chaisson tipped a shot from point blank range right into Bob’s sweeping right arm and Foligno managed to make an incredible play, knocking the puck out of the air. In the ensuing chaos, Panarin hooked Chandler Stephenson with 3:51 left in the period—and another kill from Columbus.

Third Period

Sparks flew not even two minutes into the third. Tom Wilson charged Alex Wennberg in a scrum where Ovechkin also cross-checked him, but of course only two minutes to Wilson. Wennberg left with an upper body injury and did not return.

The Jackets didn’t need all two minutes. They only needed 13 seconds. Thomas Vanek, crouched in the crease, slammed home a Pierre-Luc Dubois pass to tie the game just 1:31 into the final period.

2-2 tie game at 1:31

The game stopped for a scary moment when Nick Foligno blocked a slap shot with his face from Jakub Jerabek with 18:19 left in the game. He stayed down for a second and then popped off, trailing blood all the way to the locker room. He didn’t even miss two minutes of game time.

The officials missed a blatant tripping call and, unfortunately for the Blue Jackets, Washington capitalized. Devante Smith-Pelly found the smallest of spaces between Bob’s pad and the post, ramming home a Jakub Vrana pass off the rush to re-take the lead.

3-2 Capitals at 5:12

Panarin and Kuznetsov went back and forth with some slashes and checks in front of the net, only to Kuznetsov receive the slashing call with 8:41 to go. The Blue Jackets managed a few unscreened shots early but could not convert the rest of the way.

Seth Jones drew another Columbus power play—and almost scored an own goal—by speeding behind the net and goading Burakovsky into tripping him for a minor penalty.

If there’s anything anybody about knows about the Blue Jackets, it’s their incredible power play. Cam Atkinson dropped to his knees at the line to block a clear attempt with his chest, passing to Panarin. Panarin found a streaking Seth Jones, who uncorked one of the prettiest shots you’ll see to tie the game at 3-3.

3-3 tie game at 15:34

Overtime

There’s only one play you need to know about overtime. Panarin goal. Game over.

Jackets win, 4-3

Final Thoughts

  • Seth Jones. What can you say? The USA Network broadcast team called him “the best player on the ice,” and they weren’t wrong.
  • Huge game from Boone Jenner. Big assist from No. 38 and he blocked some important shots too. Loved him barking at the Caps bench after laying the wood on John Carlson.
  • Now that the Jackets won, we don’t have to complain about the officiating. Neat!
  • Taking penalties have their obvious disadvantages, but another one: keeping Panarin off the ice. Still, 23:29 of ice time for the winger.
  • Solid game from PLD in his first ever NHL postseason action.
  • Bob may get overlooked in this game, but he came up huge. To fight off as many power plays as he did in Game One on the road? A big blow to the “He can’t play in the playoffs” narrative.
  • We have to wait until Sunday night? Good for Jones and Foligno and hopefully Wennberg. Bad for us.