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Blue Jackets drop preseason finale to Washington 4-3 in overtime

Jackets can’t hold a pair of leads against division rival Capitals

Columbus Blue Jackets v Washington Capitals Photo by John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

With both teams dressing lineups that will likely resemble their opening night rosters, it was the Washington Capitals who came out on top against the Columbus Blue Jackets, winning an overtime thriller by a final score of 4-3. It was a back and forth affair through two periods with the Blue Jackets unable to hold onto leads of 2-1 and 3-2, which is something the team will hope doesn’t plague them as they head into the regular season.

The Jackets got goals from Laine, Chinakhov and Kuraly, which was nice to see the goals spread out among a few different lines. The defense still has some room to improve with some breakdowns, but didn’t play horribly. Elvis Merzlikins had a decent game with a few highlight reel saves, but also a soft goal that snuck through his pads.

At the very least, the Jackets showed they should be competitive this year against one of the best teams in their division. They really seemed to outplay Washington for stretches in this one, and ended the game with a CF% of 55.32 which is a promising sign. They finish the preseason 4-2-2.

Here is how it went down.

First Period

The Blue Jackets looked strong early, leading the Caps 9-3 in shots through the first half of the period. Washington struck first right around the ten minute mark, when a point shot from Martin Fehervary was deflected by Anthony Mantha past Elvis to give Washington the early lead.

1-0 Caps (Mantha from Fehervary and Carlson)

Just 41 seconds later, Patrik Laine took a pass in the neutral zone in stride and carried the puck into the zone. He flipped the puck to himself away from the defender, and then ripped a shot against the grain, beating Kuemper.

1-1 (Laine from Jenner and Gaudreau)

Adam Boqvist rang a backhander off of the post just seconds later after an offensive zone pinch. Washington hit a post of their own a minute later on a 3-on-2, as the hockey gods decided to balance things out.

With just under seven minutes remaining in the frame, the Jackets received a power play when Garnet Hathaway sat for an interference penalty. Yegor Chinakhov stayed hot and scored on a laser of a writer through traffic for his 6th of the preseason.

2-1 CBJ (Chinakhov from Boqvist and Sillinger)

Washington was given their own chance on the man advantage with about three-and-a-half minutes remaining thanks to a Boone Jenner penalty. Washington passed the puck around at will and did everything but score.

Boone put the Caps right back on the power play as soon as he left the box with a slashing penalty. After missing a few golden opportunities on the first power play, Alex Ovechkin redeemed himself and got his goal, absolutely blistering a one-timer past Merzlikins with just 13 seconds left in the period. Merzlikins had a clean look at the shot, but was unable to catch up to the bullet from Ovi.

2-2 (Ovechkin from Carlson and Kuznetsov)

Second Period

Columbus nearly grabbed the lead twice in the first two minutes of the second. Johnny Gaudreau had a semi-breakaway but had the puck roll off his stick prior to getting off a shot, and then Yegor Chinakhov had a nasty toe-drag around a Caps’ defenseman but missed wide on the backhand. He looked dangerous all night.

The Jackets made good on their early chances a few minutes later thanks to the fourth line. Sean Kuraly received a pass in stride and shot off the rush and had the puck take a fortuitous deflection off of John Carlson’s stick that fooled Kuemper.

3-2 CBJ (Kuraly from Boqvist and Werenski)

Once again Washington had an answer. Five minutes later Nic Dowd threw a shot that somehow beat Elvis five hole. It was another shot that he had a clean look at and will want back. Best to get these soft goals out of his system while they don’t count.

3-3 (Dowd from Hathaway and Jensen)

Moments after the tying goal, Jake Voracek took a slashing penalty giving the Capitals a chance to take the lead with momentum. The penalty killers were up to the task to keep the game knotted at three goals a piece. Jake came out of the box and drew one of his own to put the Jackets back on the power play.

The Jackets were unable to capitalize on that power play, but were given another after Garnet Hathaway crashed the net and took out Elvis on the way through. The first unit had some great looks, but were unable to cash in. The second unit nearly scored as well, but Yegor Chinakhov’s shot rang off the crossbar. All in all, it was a very good looking two minutes, yet nothing to show for it.

Elvis Merzlikins kept the score tied with two minutes to go, making his best save of the night sprawling out while going cross-crease to rob the Capitals of their fourth goal.

The Jackets received yet another power play with about thirty seconds left in the period. They were unable to convert anything in the abbreviated man advantage, but carried over a little less than 90 seconds into the final period.

Third Period

The remaining time on the power play yielded a few good looks, but once again no goals. It seemed like neither team wanted to make any big mistakes and the play was pretty back and forth for a while without much happening at either end.

Patrik Laine went off for a hooking penalty about five minutes into the period, but the Jackets penalty killers held tough, especially Nick Blankenberg who laid out and blocked an Ovechkin one-timer, surely earning the respect of his teammates and coaches.

Time wound down in the third with very little of note, and at the end of regulation, it remained tied at three, and the teams would get some 3-on-3 practice to end the preseason.

Overtime

Boone Jenner won the opening faceoff giving the Jackets the all-important opening possession. Johnny Gaudreau eventually turned the puck over attacking two Washington defenseman in the offensive zone, leading to an odd-man rush the other way. Connor Brown sauced a beautiful pass over a sliding Zach Werenski to Dylan Strome who tapped it past a sprawling Elvis Merzlikins.

Final 4-3 Caps (Strome from Brown and Carlson)

Up Next

The games count now as the Jackets open up their season on Wednesday against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh.