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Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Recap: Poor Special Teams Doom Caps Once Again in 5-4 Loss

After tying up the game late, the Jackets answer back with an even later game-winner.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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It seems like it’s been months since the Caps last played before the All-Star Break. The good news prior to the game was Alex Ovechkin returning to the lineup after missing the game against Edmonton, and the defense in tact for the first time in a while. Despite those positives, it ended up being another tough night for the guys who couldn’t put it all together for a win.

Plus: The penalty killers did a great job of creating chances for themselves...

Minus: ...but they didn’t score on any of them, and then allowed essentially three goals from the third-worst power play in the league.

A few more notes on the game:

  • The Caps drew the first power play of the game after a good shift by the third line, giving us a chance to see the changes made in this morning’s practice... but while it had its moments they were still unable to convert. Tom Wilson had the best chance, with a redirection off the post.
  • Halfway through the first, Evgeny Kuznetsov fed the puck to Ovechkin for a wide open net and the puck just jumped over his stick. That’s the way it’s been going for the Russian sniper lately.
  • Columbus didn’t do much most the period but when they got their chance they got some good once. They put up a cycling clinic getting two or three grade A chances but luckily didn’t score.
  • With three minutes left in the first the fourth line got a hard working goal that started in the neutral zone then a Nic Dowd slot shot that Garnett Hathaway put in on a fluttering back hand to give the good guys a 1-0 lead.
  • The fourth continued their good play after just 40 seconds into the second period Dowd scoring a goal off of a Blue Jackets skate to give the Caps a 2-0 lead. It technically wasn’t lucky because Carl Hagelin would have batted in... I think. Martin Fehervary had a pretty primary assist on the play. He’s been so quietly good this season.
  • The Blue Jackets got their first power play of the game. The Caps did a fantastic job of killing it... except the one chance the Jackets got they scored on from Patrik Laine to cut the lead to 2-1.
  • The Caps had a great shift right after this but Nicklas Backstrom took an unneeded offensive zone penalty putting the Jackets back on the power play. The Capitals actually had more scoring chances than the Blue did on the power play but just one second after the power play ended the Jackets scored to tie the game. It’s about the 100th time the Capitals have done that this season.
  • The Capitals got another crack on the power play and Kuznetsov got a lucky deflection off an opponents’ skate and in, giving the Capitals a 3-2 lead.
  • With almost a minute left, Kuznetsov took a hard check into the boards. Ovechkin and Trevor van Reimsdyk didn’t like that and mauled Andrew Peake. Trevor was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty on the play giving the Jacket a power play. And with two seconds left in the period Laine scored his second of the game to tie it up. Blue Jackets had 30th ranked power play and scored, basically, three power play goals against the Caps. Unbelievable.
  • Trey Fix-Wolansky playing in his first NHL game scored his first NHL goal, because of course. It gave the Blue Jackets a 3-4 lead. Copley was pulled because of it. It was a bad goal but the first three he couldn’t do anything about.
  • Connor McMichael and Daniel Sprong put on an offensive clinic to give the Capitals a lot of chances but they couldn’t convert.
  • Tom Wilson tied the game at 4-4 to give the Capitals life but it was extinguished when the Blue Jackets scored to take the lead with 40 seconds left. Columbus took the game 4-5.

Up Next: The Capitals head north of border to take on the Montreal Canadiens without their captain, as he’ll have to sit out due to Canadian COVID rules.