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Blue Jackets steal a win in Washington

Patrik Laine scores twice in a 5-4 win over the Capitals.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets traveled to the nation’s capital to face the Washington Capitals in the first game back from the All-Star break. Both teams were sliding coming into the break, so both were looking for a strong start the “second half” of the season.

Trey Fix-Wolansky made his NHL debut, while Brendan Gaunce made his Blue Jackets debut. Could the pair contribute? Patrik Laine was heating up before the break. Could he continue his solid play?

1st Period

The Jackets got off to a nice start and were able to match the Caps early. Roslovic ripped a breakaway shot wide (the first of many missed shots by the Jackets) after Gaunce made a slick touch pass off the rush. With Texier and Robinson both out, Roslovic also got a chance on the penalty kill unit when Kuraly went off for interference. The kill was successful and without much incident.

A good period for the Jackets was erased when the Capitals took a late 1-0 lead. A rebound off of Elvis found the stick of Hathaway, who was able to get the puck past the goaltender. Peeke was in position to sweep the puck away, but didn’t see the puck in time. Second chances continue to plague this defense.

The Capitals won the shot battle 11-4, but that wasn’t indicative of how the first period went as a whole. The Jackets had a total of fourteen shot attempts, but ten of those missed the net.

WSH Goal 1-0: Hathaway (Dowd, Hagelin) 17:19

Noteworthy: Gaunce and Fix-Wolansky were noticeable in the first period. Both had a shot on net and the Capitals had zero shot attempts while they were on the ice.

2nd Period

The Capitals struck early when a rebound went off of Bjorkstrand’s skate and into the net. The unfortunate bounce was most certainly not the way they would’ve liked to start the period.

WSH Goal 2-0: Dowd (Fehervary, Hagelin) 0:40

Kuraly went back to the box for high-sticking, but the penalty kill gave little room to the Caps’ power play. Nyquist drew a penalty on a short-handed chance to give the Jackets their first power play of the night.

After a nearly disastrous pass from Werenski that gave the Capitals a short-handed chance, the Jackets would capitalize on the abbreviated power play. Boqvist found an open Laine, who ripped a one-timer right past the Capitals’ goalie. The Finn is still hot.

CBJ PP Goal 2-1: Laine (Boqvist, Voracek) 9:38

The Jackets went right back to the power play on a Backstrom holding penalty. The aggressive Capitals’ penalty kill got caught extra short-handed and a tic-tac-toe play found Boqvist alone, who put it top shelf to tie the game. The goal came two seconds after the power play expired, but who’s counting?

CBJ Goal 2-2: Boqvist (Domi, Nyquist) 12:42

The tie would be short lived, however. Werenski went off for crosschecking and the Capitals were able to retake the lead. A Kuznetsov shot deflected off of Gavrikov’s stick and past Elvis’ glove.

WSH PP Goal 3-2: Kuznetsov (Ovechkin, Carlson) 15:57

With the second period coming to a close, Andrew Peeke dumped Kuznetsov with a clean hit. Mayhem ensued and Columbus ended up with a power play. With five seconds left, Bjorkstrand passed to Laine off a Jenner faceoff win. Laine ripped a screamer top cheese to tie the game.

CBJ PP Goal 3-3: Laine (Bjorkstrand, Jenner) 19:56

Noteworthy: Gavrikov was having a great game through two periods. While he was on the ice, the Jackets held an 11-3 unblocked shot attempt advantage.

3rd Period

With his parents in the stands, Fix-Wolansky broke the tie and scored his first NHL goal to start the period. Domi may have had the best reaction of the night when celebrating the goal with Fix-Wolansky. How could the shots of the teary eyed parents not bring a smile to your eye?

CBJ Goal 4-3: Fix-Wolansky (Roslovic, Domi) 2:40

The Caps started pushing back hard shortly after the go ahead goal by Fix-Wolansky. At one point, the Roslovic line was stuck on the ice for two and a half minutes.

Unfortunately, the Jackets were not able to hold onto the lead once the Caps pulled their goalie. Gavrikov attempted to clear a shot attempt, but the puck landed right on Wilson’s stick for the tying goal.

WSH Goal 4-4: Wilson (unassisted) 17:34

But wait, there’s more! With less than a minute left, Nyquist caught a rebound and found Jenner — the captain was able to backhand it in to regain the lead.

CBJ Goal 5-4: Jenner (Nyquist, Laine) 19:15

That lead would hold. Jackets win!

Final Thoughts

The puck bounced the right way for both teams in this one. The expected goals were even at 3.09-3.06, favoring Columbus, but a little bit of puck made this a tough one for the goalies. Elvis wasn’t completely on his game, but he wasn’t bad either.

Patrik freaking Laine. After struggling a bit since returning from injury, he’s now 6-3-9 in his last 4 games. His two goals and an assist tonight led to a Jackets win.

The team deserves a lot of credit for battling through adversity in this game. They went down 2-0, but clawed back and took the lead. The late tying goal could have deflated them, but instead they were able to find the back of the net to end it in regulation.

Next Up

The Blue Jackets are heading to Buffalo to take on the Sabres Thursday night at 7:00PM ET.