Blue Jackets lose a heartbreaker; Fall 4-3 to the Capitals

The Blue Jackets did enough to win, but didn’t get the timely saves from their goaltender.

Ouch. The Blue Jackets lost in the final two minutes to the Washington Capitals tonight by a final score of 4-3. It’s been a while since this team lost a game that felt like a punch to the gut. The Jackets definitely were the better team for most of the night, and probably deserved to win. I won’t pin it all on Joonas Korpisalo, but a few more clutch saves would’ve had us all feeling a lot better tonight.

Let’s take a look at how it all went down...

1st Period

At the start of this one, you couldn’t help but wonder if there would be some rust for the Blue Jackets after five days off. The question was answered quickly when the Jackets came out of the gate flying and got the Caps on their heels. An early odd-man rush saw struggling Gus Nyquist miss the net, leading to a Washington chance at the other end. From there it was all Jackets.

About two and half minutes in, Sean Kuraly scored his first goal as a Jacket off rebound from a Jake Bean shot and Robinson follow up. Kuraly was able to find the rebound in front and put it into the gaping net. Judging by Kuraly’s celebration, it was obvious he’s been anticipating that one for a while and it was a weight off his shoulders.

1-0 CBJ (Kuraly from Robinson and Texier)

The Blue Jackets kept their foot on the gas and generated multiple grade-A scoring opportunities with Chinakhov, Stenlund and Kuraly getting the best chances. Capitals goaltender, Ilya Samsonov, was forced to make multiple big saves to keep the game close. The Blue Jackets’ fourth line of Kuraly, Robinson and Texier were by far the best line of the period (and the night).

Just over the halfway mark in the period, Alexander Ovechkin took a pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov and ripped a shot from the top of the left circle, beating Korpisalo. The goal — career goal #742 — moved Ovechkin past Brett Hull for sole possession of fourth all-time. At least Jackets fans in attendance got a see a moment of hockey history with the goal.

1-1 (Ovechkin from Kuznetsov and Wilson)

The Ovechkin goal gave Washington some energy, and for the rest of the period they controlled the pace of play. It was Korpisalo’s turn to step up and make some big saves to keep it a tie game. The Jackets survived a long shift in their own end in the final minute to head into the second frame deadlocked at one goal a piece.

2nd Period

Washington carried the momentum into the second, scoring in only 25 seconds, thanks to a defensive zone turnover by Zach Werenski. Garnet Hathaway finished a tic-tac-toe sequence in which Korpisalo did not have much of a chance.

2-1 Caps (Hathaway from Jonsson-Fjallby and Eller)

Chinakhov nearly answered shortly after, ringing a laser off the post. Chinakov could have had a couple tonight. Once the first one goes in, the floodgates will surely open.

Korpisalo and Bayreuther combined  for a great defensive play/save to deny a sure goal when Evgeny Kuznetsov found himself alone at the side of the net.

Not long after, a turnover high in the offensive zone led to a breakaway for the Caps and Garnet Hathaway once again beat Korpisalo clean on his glove side to give Washington a two goal lead. Saving a breakaway is never easy, but you’d really like to see Korpisalo come up big there to bail out his team.

3-1 (Hathaway from Eller and Ovechkin)

Just when it looked like the game was slipping away from the Blue Jackets, hometown kid, Sean Kuraly, beat John Carlsson one-on-one with a nasty toe drag and then fired the puck past Samsonov for his second of the year and the night. The fourth line continued to be dominant.

3-2 Caps (Kuraly from Voracek)

Before the goal could even be announced, Oliver BJORKSTRAND sent Gus Nyquist in on a breakaway with a beautiful pass through the Capitals defense. Nyquist went backhand fivehole to tie the game up and sent the Nationwide crowd into a frenzy.

3-3 (Nyquist from BJORKSTRAND and Jenner)

The Jackets had a few more chances to reclaim the lead including an odd-man rush with Werenski and BJORKSTRAND followed by a powerplay chance. Neither yielded any results, but once again the Jackets had tilted the ice in their favor. The Blue Jackets had the better of the remaining minutes in the period until once again Washington threatened at the end of the frame.

A scramble in front of the net almost saw the Caps regain the lead in the final two minutes, but Korpisalo stood tall (actually he laid down) to keep the puck out of the net. A very entertaining second period ended the same as the first: tied.

3rd Period

Jackets opened the third flying and generated a few chances while dictating the pace of play. Korpisalo made his first big save of the period on a quick shot by Jonsson-Fjallby off the rush followed up by a huge save on Kuznetsov who walked in alone and faked a slapshot only to attempt a quick snap shot, but Korpisalo was up to the task.

Gavin Bayreuther headed off for tripping twelve minutes into the period. A HUGE shift from Andrew Peeke helped kill the penalty. Peeke blocked two shots from from Alexander Ovechkin. The first broke his stick, and the second — a 98mph one-timer — was absorbed by the back of his thigh. After some scary moments, Alexandre Texier was able to clear the zone.

Capitals forward, Evegeny Kuznetsov, also went off for a cross-check, thus negating the power play. After about 30 seconds of 4-on-4, the Jackets went to the man advantage. Columbus maintained possession and created some chances but couldn’t beat Samsonov. Perhaps they would have scored had Jake Voracek put this puck literally ANYWHERE on net instead of passing.

Similar to the end of the first two periods, the Jackets were on their heels and were having trouble clearing the zone. This time they were not as lucky. Some nice passing around the zone found Connor Sheary on the back door. Korpisalo failed to seal the post and the puck snuck into the net. It was another goal Korpisalo will want back considering he was in position to make the save.

4-3 Caps (Sheary from Orlov and Jensen)

Columbus pulled the goalie with about a minute to go, but unfortunately couldn’t find the equalizer. A fun game ended in heartbreak. You can’t deny this team is fun to watch and they (clearly) deserved better tonight.

Up Next

The Jackets (and thankfully Elvis) are back at it tomorrow to try and get some redemption against the New York Rangers.

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