Riding their first two-game winning streak of the season, the Caps prepared to face yet another foe from the magical playoff run of 2018 - this time hosting the first victim to fall this spring, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Here’s Friday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: The Caps’ defense was likely the youngest it’s been in quite some time, with both Orpik and Carlson out, and yet they managed to keep high-scoring Columbus off the board at even strength (albeit while ceding a bunch of shots against). Not bad, loss or no loss.
Minus: The penalty killing. Again. It’s not even that it was particularly bad this time - everyone seemed to do what they were supposed to do for the most part, including Holtby... but man, giving up multiple power-play goals to a team struggling with the extra man is disheartening.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
- With both John Carlson and Brooks Orpik on the bench, the Caps brought in Jonas Siegenthaler for his NHL debut - and overall it was a pretty positive start for the youngster. A standout in camp and nearly a part of the opening-night roster, he played a mostly solid, physical game. He did have one misstep that led to Kuznetsov taking a penalty and the Jackets scoring their first power-play goal, but otherwise good things.
- Carlson hasn’t always been the steadiest in his own zone, but it was clear where the Caps missed him tonight and that was on the power play (although his replacement did eventually cash in with the extra man). The first power-play chance looked out of sync and didn’t quite have the same threat behind it, and the team definitely was missing his offensive flair overall.
- The first period in general was probably one of the better periods the Caps have played this season without a goal... so naturally they fell behind, giving up a late power-play goal to basically nullify all of the good work they’d done leading up to it.
- In the first period the Caps outshot the Jackets 15-6 and out-attempted them 30-16 - but that script flipped in the second, with the Jackets emerging from the locker room with a little extra boost and put seven shots on Holtby before the Caps got their first of the period.
- ...and just as the Caps dominated the first period only to give up a power-play goal, so it was the other way around, with the Caps getting on the board thanks to Matt Niskanen’s Nis-cannon from the point.
- How about Travis Boyd? He’s played in just three games this season, having missed the start of the season and most of camp with an injury, and in all three he’s had a ton of jump, is a pest around the net and generated some good chances. That was especially true early in this one (mostly due to Reirden shortening the bench as the game went on), and he put up a couple of shots, blocked two more, and won all three of the faceoffs he took in just over seven minutes of ice time.
- The Blue Jackets jumped up to a 2-1 lead after yet another power-play goal, with Anthony Duclair taking advantage of a stickless Matt Niskanen (although even without a stick one would think #2 could have done a slightly better job at boxing out Duclair.
- Coming into tonight’s game, the Jackets had scored just one goal on their last 23 power-play chances. On behalf of the Caps... you’re welcome, Columbus.
- Did Evgeny Kuznetsov even play tonight?
- Braden Holtby was very good tonight, making some huge saves and not really to blame for either of the Columbus goals. Unfortunately, Sergei Bobrovsky was also very good tonight, making it that much harder for the Caps to draw even once they fell behind.
Alas, the Caps once again struggle shorthanded and can’t generate enough to balance it out - and so the hard-earned winning streak comes to an end at two. The Caps will look to start up a new one on Sunday when Arizona comes to town.