The Jackets went to DC to try for one last try to get a win on this fourth game of the road trip. Standing in the way are the Washington Capitals, who lead the Metro but entered in a two-game skid of their own. One of those had to give, and considering this is the CBJ’s only divisional game in a 47-day span, it was paramount for the Jackets to get the win.
Tarasov would get his second straight start to begin his NHL career, while the Capitals went with Ilya Samsonov. Washington also treated us to their alternate jerseys tonight, which singlehandedly kept this game from being a 1/10 aesthetically. 4/10 instead.
The teams traded time in the offensive zone throughout the period, with Washington having a slight advantage for the first half, and Columbus for the second. Tarasov would make several big saves early.
The Caps would be the only team to break through during the opening frame, as another early blue line turnover would result in a shot from the point. Tarasov would make the save, but a juicy rebound coupled with a half-screen by Jake Bean would allow Aleksi Protas to bury one for Washington.
CAPITALS GOAL - Aleksi Protas from Justin Schultz, 4:33 1st - 1-0 Washington
The Jackets responded with a bit of zone time, but more blue line turnovers cost the CBJ a penalty as Robinson went off for tripping. However, the Jackets looked like the better team during the kill and actually outshot their hosts. The goaltenders looked solid throughout the rest of the period, though two worrying trends emerged: Tarasov giving up prime rebounds, which the defense in front of him mostly cleared without issue, and the CBJ allowing the Capitals several odd-man rushes, one of which went off the post behind Tarasov. Both need to be cleaned up before the start costing us.
Washington controlled early and often, and Ovechkin made Columbus pay on a 2-on-1 for his 750th.
CAPITALS GOAL - Alex Ovechkin from John Carlson, 3:12 2nd - 2-0 Washington
It briefly looked like Yegor Chinakhov had answered, but the play was declared offside after a coach’s challenge. That’s the second Chinakhov goal in the past three games cancelled by an offsides review.
After that, the Capitals would pour on the pressure starting around the seven minute mark and not really stopping until there were only a few minutes left in the frame. It did start to even out as the clock winded down, but Washington still kept the Jackets on their toes until the last two minutes. Werenski clearly started taking a “Fine, I’ll do it myself” approach to zone entries. But then, a miracle occured. Sustained offense by the CBJ! Such wow, much excite! Unfortunately, nothing got past Samsonov.
Connor McMichael would end the period with a bit at goal of the year, cutting through the CBJ defense and using a spin move to take out two guys in white, until Daniil Tarasov stopped him with his right pad to keep it 2-0. The Jackets let the clock wind down to close the period.
Good news: Tarasov appeared to clean up his rebounds! That’s one of two issues covered, so hopefully the Jackets can clean up the odd-man rushes and pull off a last-period comeback.
The period started with the Jackets and Capitals trading offensive zone time, both getting hemmed in for a minute or so in their respective zones. Texier would then get a hal-breakaway that Samsonov stopped without much issue. That’d kick off a series of odd-man rushes for both teams, culminating a CBJ goal! Justin Danforth would chase a dump from Werenski, then dish the puck across the crease to Eric Robinson, who did not miss the open net.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL - Eric Robinson from Justin Danforth and Zach Werenski, 6:28 3rd - 2-1 Washington
One down, one to go! Columbus would continue to push for the equalizer, trading rushes with Washington but mostly in control. Yet Samsonov stood strong.
Around the two minute warning, Garnet Hathaway pretty blatantly elbowed Jakub Voracek right in front of an official. I get that it’d put the losing team on the power play for the rest of the game, but that’s an inexcusable no-call. To put salt in the wound, it’d be Hathaway that put in the empty netter for the hosts to seal it.
CAPITALS GOAL - Garnet Hathaway Unassisted, 18:33 3rd, Empty Net - 3-1 Washington
The Jackets would provide a valiant push, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Shoutout to Tarasov for his second 30-save effort. Let us know your thoughts down below.