Everything was stacked against the Capitals for Friday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Not just because they were still missing top end talent, but they also played a game less than 24 hours before, while the last time Columbus were coming off a five day rest. Columbus is also holding an impressive shutout streak against the Capitals when playing at home.
The Blue Jackets goaltender, Joonas Korpisalo, has also been very strong against the Capitals in her early career.
Basically, nothing was looking good for the Capitals for this game. But they came out on top even with everything facing down on them. It was a huge win.
Plus: To go into a building in an arena that hasn’t been kind to them, against a goalie that’s had their number and win is always fun to watch.
Minus: Letting in two goals in 22 seconds to allow the Blue Jackets back in the game isn’t a trend you want to get behind.
A few more notes on the game:
- Just three minutes in, Justin Schultz blew a tire in the defensive zone that gave Columbus the puck. A point shot deflected off to the circle where Samsonov made an amazing save but no Capital were able to clean up the mess and Columbus was able to knock it in to take a 0-1 lead.
- A couple minutes later Samsonov made another amazing save off a defensive faceoff loss. Then another couple minutes after that he made stunning stretch save to keep the Capitals down just one. Ilya showed up, like he usually does, he needed the rest of the team to help him out. It could have easily been 0-3 Columbus just 8 minutes into the game if it wasn’t for him.
- Alexander Ovechkin scored his historical 742nd goal of his career to tie the game up. That goal put him alone fourth all time in goals scored. Just incredible stuff that we simply don’t appreciate enough.
- Daniel Sprong was arguably the Capitals best player in the first period. He hasn’t scored much this season but he’s been trying. He’s tenacious on the puck and trying to make more plays than just being a shooter.
- The Capitals ended the first period on a strong shift by the first line that ended with a lot of possession time and a couple chances. The first period was basically a mimic of the first period in Detroit, where the Capitals got dominated in the first 8-10 minutes but they found their game after that.
- The Capitals came out of the second period with a goal with a beatiful passing play between Lars Eller and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby that led to a Garnett Hathaway one timer into the back of the net. It was Axel’s first career point!
- Korpisalo made goal saving toe save on Kuznetsov to keep the game at one. Both goalies were making some great saves and doing their job and more so.
- Eller sent in Hathaway in on a break away and ripped it top corn to give them a 3-1 lead. But the play on that goal was Ovechkin making a defensive play to get the puck out to Eller which led to the goal. We all know Ovechkin isn’t a Selky winner but anytime he goes that extra mile to make the defensive play it speaks volumes.
- The Blue Jackets answered right back, when Kuraly out maneuvered John Carlson and got in a alone to snipe one pipe in. Just 22 seconds later the Blue Jackets came in on another breakaway and tied the game up. Not a good 30 seconds for the defense.
- With eight minutes left in the game the Capitals got their first powerplay. They had a couple good looks but a little half way through Kuznetsov took a dumb penalty and cancelled the powerplay out. Samsonov came up witha huge save on a redirect to keep the game even while on the penalty kill.
- With just 1:22 left in the game the Connor McMichael line came up huge when Conor Sheary picked the perfect time to score his first 5v5 goal of the season to give the Capitals a 4-3 lead.
- Overall it was a strong game by the Capitals especially considering everything that was weighing against them. To get four points on the road in a back to back is huge.
Up next for the Capitals is a game Saturday against the dreaded Pittsburgh Penguins.