The Capitals skated into Columbus, Ohio for a combustible Metropolitan matchup against the Blue Jackets. Washington rode a strong offensive performance, and a healthy dose of animosity, to a 3 to 2 victory over their hosts.
First up, Sunday night’s Plus/Minus.
- Plus: Braden Holtby was magnificent in the crease, rebounding nicely from Friday night’s loss in Arizona.
- Minus: Washington was unable to convert on either of their power play opportunities and didn’t look particularly sharp in their effort.
Nine more notes on the game:
- Physical play was both team’s mantra early on with the clubs combining for 25 hits through the opening twenty minutes.
- Washington, more than Columbus, had some good first period chances to get on the board but strong goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky kept Dmitry Orlov, Justin Williams, and the Capitals quiet through the first intermission.
- T.J. Oshie, however, would get the Capitals on the board early in the second frame. After picking up a nice pass from Nicklas Backstrom, Oshie walked around Zach Werenski and backhanded a hard shot over Bobrovsky’s right shoulder to put Washington up by one.
- Andre Burakovsky followed Oshie’s lead 104 seconds later, taking a nifty Lars Eller pass and whipping a quick snapshot under the crossbar next to Bobrovsky’s nearside post.
- And just after the game’s midway point Burakovsky and Matt Niskanen connected for the latter’s fifth goal of the season. Burakovsky stole the puck from Jack Johnson and drew the defender toward him at the offensive blueline before dishing to Niskanen for a forehanded tally.
- But just before the third period was halfway over Johnson wired a hard wrist shot that beat Holtby. With 10:38 remaining the game Johnson’s tally reinvigorated a dormant Nationwide Arena.
- The physical play picked up in the third after Johnson’s goal, including four roughing calls at the frame’s 11:21 mark (Josh Anderson [double minor], Kyle Quincey, Alex Ovechkin, and Tom Wilson). The shenanigans resulted in a five minute break in play.
- When play resumed Columbus would put themselves within one with another goal from their defensive corps. Quincey fired a slapshot from the point that eluded Holtby on its way down, and into, the net.
- That would be as close as Columbus could get though, as Washington survived the final 4:27 of regulation to capture the victory.