Entering the night just five points back of first, the Columbus Blue Jackets knew how important these games are in a bunched Metropolitan Division. Their crucial stretch in the schedule didn’t get any easier as they took to the road to face the division leading Washington Capitals Saturday night. Both teams came into their third meeting of the season with road wins against the other.
Joonas Korpisalo drew back into the net for Columbus, his second-consecutive start after an overtime win Thursday against the Predators. Cam Atkinson put the Jackets ahead 1-0 with his team-leading 25th goal in the first period, and Artemi Panarin scored his second overtime game-winner in as many games as the Blue Jackets beat the Capitals 2-1.
In not wasting any time striking first, Markus Nutivaara found Atkinson with a lead pass up the ice, setting up the breakaway chance and the goal just one minute into play. Pierre-Luc Dubois also added an assist on the play.
Josh Anderson whiffed on his breakaway opportunity in the second period, the play forming after he nabbed the loose puck after Brooks Orpik couldn’t handle a pass from Alex Ovechkin. Anderson split the defenders with a burst of speed but was unable to bury at the other end.
At one point late in the second period, Columbus held an 11-1 face-off advantage, and for the night, finished at 47.4 percent.
After going two-for-two on their power play chances Thursday, the Blue Jackets drew their first chance early in the opening period against the Capitals, but could not convert. Korpisalo was on his game the entire the night, constantly thwarting chances and frustrating the opposition.
Ovechkin left the game in the first period, only playing 3:01, but returned to the bench to begin the second. His absence was due to an apparent equipment issue. Braden Holtby left the game in the second period after Atkinson's stick flipped his mask off, leaving the goalie dazed. Holtby was seen working with the trainer, having eye drops applied but he was unable to continue. For the night, he finished with 10 saves on 11 shots. Pheonix Copley took over in relief, also stopping 10 of 11. Washington garnered a power play as Atkinson was called for high-sticking on Holtby. The teams would be relegated to four-on-four 1:03 into the man-advantage after Ovechkin was banished for interference.
With just 1:06 remaining in the third period, an empty net at the other end, and Joonas Korpisalo bidding for his second-career shutout, the attempt was foiled on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s slapper to tie the game at 1-1.
With the score tied 1-1 after three, it was the second-consecutive overtime game for Columbus. Nicklas Backstrom took a slashing penalty which set up the Jackets on their third power play.
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On the power play, Seth Jones hooked up with Panarin, who slammed home his second-consecutive overtime goal, and fourth of the season. Panarin is the first Blue Jacket to have four overtime goals in a single season. He is tied for the league-lead with seven game-winning goals and four overtime goals. The Blue Jackets have won four-consecutive overtime games.
Ryan Murray missed the game with an illness. Brandon Dubinsky (hamstring) and Markus Hannikainen (elbow) missed their second consecutive game. Gabriel Carlsson was called up from Cleveland but did not play. Kevin Stenlund, wearing No. 11, made his NHL debut tonight for Columbus, playing right wing on Alexander Wennberg’s line. Stenlund played 11:40. The last Blue Jackets player to wear No. 11 in Capital One Arena was Matt Calvert, who scored two goals in Game 5 of last year’s Quarterfinals series. Atkinson’s goal gives him 317 career points, tying him with David Vyborny for second among all-time Blue Jackets. Of course Rick Nash is No. 1 with 547. Panarin’s goal adds to his team-leading 48 points. Columbus is 3-of-10 on the power play against the Capitals this season, with two coming in the clubs’ first meeting, a 2-1 win Nov. 9.
Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik played in his 999th career NHL game. Columbus improves to 16-1 when leading after two periods. Columbus has won five of their past six against the division.
The Blue Jackets continue their work against the Metropolitan Sunday at home against the Rangers, with face-off at 6:00 p.m.