This was a highly anticipated divisional battle, and the Capitals came in hot. After taking a commanding 3-0 lead in the first period and chasing Sergei Bobrovsky out of the Blue Jackets’ crease, Braden Holtby and the Capitals held on to beat Columbus 4-0. Tonight marks the 11th-straight game that Washington has scored three or more goals.
Here’s Saturday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: The Capitals came to play tonight, but no one came to play more than Braden Holtby. He made all 28 saves tonight to notch his 34th career shutout, and he is now one shy of tying the franchise record set by Olaf Kolzig. The best part about this? No cannon.
Minus: The Capitals’ power play is still struggling. Now that Kuznetsov is back in the lineup, the power play unit has four of its five original members and theoretically shouldn’t look as bad as it does. However, a combination of messy play and opposing penalty kill units learning how to defend them more effectively has left the Caps’ man advantage wanting more. Including tonight, the Capitals’ power play is 1-13 in its last 14 chances.
And now, this...
Nine more notes on the game:
1. Less than two minutes into the game, Brett Connolly got the Capitals on the board early with a sweet deke around Sergei Bobrovsky, sliding it around his pad and across the goal line. With that Kuznetsov-esque goal, Conno is now riding a four-game point streak (1g, 4a). Did someone say contract year?
A very Kuzy goal from Brett Connolly pic.twitter.com/fN56It6H5o— HockeyKot (@hockeykot) December 9, 2018
2. First goal as a Capital alert! Dmitrij Jaskin, in his 23rd game of the season, finally lit the lamp with a deflection of Travis Boyd’s shot off his skate. With the way that he’s been playing lately, Jaskin has more than deserved a goal. Plus he put an end to his 30-game goal drought, so what better way to celebrate than by throwing the monkey off his back?
Jaskin gets the monkey off his back pic.twitter.com/IbeMqh0Dqj— HockeyKot (@hockeykot) December 9, 2018
3. Only 18.8 seconds left in the period? No problem for Alex Ovechkin, who netted his 22nd goal of the season and extended his point streak to 11 games. A nice tap-in goal from the left of Bobrovsky gave the Caps a three-goal lead going into intermission.
4. Bobrovsky was on the bench and Joonas Korpisalo was in net to start the second period for Columbus. This was probably meant more as a wake-up call for the rest of the team, since Big Bob did not look bad in the first 20 minutes and even made a few incredible saves.
5. Remember that wake-up call I just mentioned? Well, it didn’t do much for either team. The second period saw no goals and eight shots for each team. Washington had two power play chances but capitalized on neither of them, and Columbus let their one man advantage opportunity slip away as well.
6. Can you imagine having your first NHL goal assisted by Alex Ovechkin? Well, Travis Boyd doesn’t have to! With 11 minutes left in the game, Boyd gave the Caps a 4-0 lead with a shot fired between Korpisalo’s outstretched blocker and pad after an assist by the Washington captain. Someone save that puck!
7. The Blue Jackets had a late-game power play opportunity, but the Capitals’ penalty kill remained perfect on the night to keep Columbus off the board.
8. Jonas Siegenthaler played his second consecutive game with the Capitals tonight, and he’s made quite an impression. It’s clear that he wants to prove he deserves more time in the lineup, and the fact that he got some time on the penalty kill tonight hopefully means that Reirden and the rest of the coaching staff is starting to listen.
9. Dmitrij Jaskin could have probably tallied a hat trick tonight with all of the great chances he had, including a sequence towards the end of the game which he finished by sliding the puck straight across the crease, but he’s probably more than happy with just the one.
Next up for the Capitals is a home-ice tilt against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday the 11th after a nice two-day break.