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Game #62 Recap: Joonas Korpisalo torpedoes any remaining trade value, Blue Jackets get completely embarrassed

Here’s what happened.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Washington Capitals Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

On the second night of a back to back, the Columbus Blue Jackets returned home to face off against the Washington Capitals. The Blue Jackets, winners of three straight, are staring up at the Capitals in the standings - the Blue Jackets sit ninth in the Eastern Conference, 11 points back entering the matchup. The Jackets are probably too far behind to make the playoffs, but a win would at least throw some level of fear into the Capitals.

The Blue Jackets announced only one change pregame, swapping in Joonas Korpisalo for Elvis Merzlikins.

Here’s what happened.

Scoring Recap

Gustav Nyquist hit the post early, but it was Washington who got on the scoreboard first. TJ Oshie forced a turnover from Nyquist and Anthony Mantha on a breakaway snuck a shot through Joonas Korpisalo to put Columbus in an early hole.

Washington goal (0-1): Mantha from Oshie, 4:29

The Blue Jackets pressured the Capitals after the goal, but were unable to get a true scoring chance on Vanacek. Just over the midway mark of the first period, Washington was able to capitalize on a bad play in the Columbus zone. Emil Bemstrom made a bad pass off the half wall that was taken and fired on net by Anthony Mantha. Mantha’s shot bounced off the end boards, ricocheted off of Korpisalo’s skate, and into the back of the net.

Washington goal (0-2): Mantha, unassisted, 12:20

Washington earned the first power play with 4:34 to go in the first as Sean Kuraly was penalized for slashing, but Columbus was able to kill it, allowing no shots on goal. With 2:24 remaining, Alex Ovechkin took an interference penalty on Jakub Voracek, giving Columbus a power play. The Capitals killed it and the first period ended 2-0 Washington.

It took just 1:20 of the second period for the Capitals to score a third goal and chase Joonas Korpisalo from the net. The Capitals took advantage of a bad line change, but Korpisalo should have had it - his pad was in position but still went under for a goal. He left after allowing three goals on nine shots.

Washington goal (0-3): Fehervary from Sprong and Carlson, 1:20

Elvis came in and immediately made a big save to keep the deficit at three. A shot from Alex Ovechkin broke a pane of glass, requiring a delay while repairs were made. The Blue Jackets enjoyed their second power play following the repair as Anthony Mantha was boxed for unsportsmanlike conduct. On the power play, the Columbus offense finally woke up as a tic-tac-tow play found Oliver Bjorkstrand wide open in the slot and he buried it past Vanacek.

Columbus goal (1-3): Bjorkstrand from Voracek and Domi, 6:57

With 10:16 remaining in the second, Jack Roslovic was penalized for slashing. It took the Capitals three chances, but they were finally able to score a power play goal. Alex Ovechkin was, somehow, left all alone in his circle with all the time in the world, was able to beat Elvis Merzlikins.

Washington goal (1-4): Ovechkin from Sheary and WIlson, 10:44

The Blue Jackets earned another power play after the goal as Hathaway took an interference penalty, and despite several chances, the Capitals were able keep Columbus off the scoresheet despite four shots allowed. At the 3:30 mark of the second period, Tom Wilson (shocker) was sent to the penalty box for breaking his stick across Andrew Peeke’s midsection (it was called slashing). The Capitals killed the penalty and led 4-1 after 40 minutes.

After some end to end action to open the third period that saw Elvis make a big save on a breakaway, Columbus scored their second of the night. Zach Werenski let a shot go from the blue line that was tipped home in front by Patrik Laine. Laine’s goal was his 18th in the last 22 games.

Columbus goal (2-4): Laine from Werenski and Peeke, 1:47

The good feelings did not last long, however, as Washington regained their three goal lead. Elvis made the initial save but, on the clearing attempt, Dean Kukan put it right in his own net.

Washington goal (2-5): McMichael, unassisted, 4:15

With Roslovic and Dowd in the box, the teams skated four on four. With 12:48 to go, Brad Larsen elected to pull Elvis Merzlikins at the four on four and Washington immediately capitalized - a puck went sailing over Zach Werenski’s head and Conor Sheary put it into the empty net.

Washington goal (2-6): Sheary from Van Riemsdyk and Backstrom, 7:18

That, for all intents and purposes, was the game. Washington scored another goal to add insult to injury, but that was it.


Washington Capitals 7 Columbus Blue Jackets 2

Final Thoughts

The Blue Jackets completely mishandled the Joonas Korpisalo scenario and now those chickens are coming home to roost. They have had multiple chances to trade him over the last two seasons, but a combination of overvaluing their own player and a bloated free agent market led to Columbus hanging on to their goaltender for far too long. Now, after multiple dreadful performances this season and a GSAA of -14.7, he has no trade value and will likely leave for nothing this offseason. The entire situation was completely bungled by the front office, directly a result of them overvaluing a player based on a small sample size.

The Blue Jackets defensive structure leaves a lot to be desired. There are new players, and many young ones, but veterans like Gustav Nyquist abandoning Alex Ovechkin on a power play to be the fourth player below the goal line is something that just cannot happen. The coaching staff needs to find a way to better organize the defense next season.

A completely embarrassing performance from every single player and coach. Not one positive thing to take away from this game, not one single person should feel remotely okay with this.

Up Next

The Columbus Blue Jackets are home again on Saturday night to take on the St. Louis Blues. Faceoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM EDT.