Tonight’s game was a big divisional matchup, with just five points separating the Blue Jackets and the first-place Capitals. Both teams would be looking for a victory, and although they each walked away with a point after 60 minutes of regulation hockey, Columbus grabbed the extra point after some three-on-three overtime for a 2-1 victory.
Here’s Saturday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: After coming into the game halfway through the second period for an injured Bradem Holtby, Pheonix Copley looked solid in net for Washington. He stopped all eight shots he faced in regulation, and he made a few impressive saves to hold Columbus at one goal until their OT winner.
Minus: The Caps are very good at not showing up until 15 minutes in for a 20-minute period of hockey.
And now, this…
Eight more notes on the game:
1. Everyone in Washington was probably expecting to see Sergei Bobrovsky in net for this matchup, but Joonas Korpisalo drew the start tonight with Bob sitting backup. Bobrovsky was, of course, in the news earlier this week for a little bit of drama in Columbus.
2. Just one minute into the game, Cam Atkinson got the Blue Jackets on the board with a goal on a breakaway after a sharp stretch pass from Markus Nutivaara. John Carlson and Michal Kempny looked half-asleep on the play, and this probably wasn’t the start Washington was looking for.
3.. Alex Ovechkin was not on the Capitals’ bench for the last eight minutes of the first period. His last shift was at the 8:16 mark, before heading down the tunnel with athletic trainer Jason Serbus. However, Caps fans could breathe easy once again during the first intermission when the team announced Ovi would be returning.
4. About 11 minutes into the second period, Braden Holtby took a high stick from Cam Atkinson that went into the eye socket of his mask and pulled it off his head. It looked like he might be okay to head back to the crease initially, but he seemed to be having trouble keeping his left eye open. Pheonix Copley came into the game as Holtby went down the tunnel, and the Capitals announced just before the third period began that Holtby was still being evaluated.
5. After two periods, Washington was out-shooting Columbus 20-13. While this is an unexpectedly nice shift in the Capitals’ usual shot differential, they still hadn’t gotten one past Korpisalo.
6. With just over a minute left in the game, the Caps finally got on the board courtesy of Evgeny Kuznetsov. With the net empty on the other end of the rink, Kuzy fired a wicked slapshot past Korpisalo off a nice feed from John Carlson for his eighth goal of the season, and his first since December 2.
7. This game would not be decided in 60 minutes after Kuzy’s late game-tying goal, and the teams traded three-on-three chances for 3:18 until Nicklas Backstrom was called for slashing. That would be the nail in the coffin for Washington, as Artemi Panarin fired the game-winner past Copley just 12 seconds into the power play.
8. Brooks Orpik had a rough game tonight. He had two giveaways and mishandled the puck a number of times. Something about his play seems off, especially after his injury earlier this season.
The Capitals play at home again on Monday night against the St. Louis Blues. Unless he is a healthy scratch, that will be Brooks Orpik’s 1,000th NHL game.