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Capitals at Blue Jackets: Caps Win a Weird One in Columbus, Roll 7-2

It was an odd night of hockey but the Capitals left with an important win.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

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Tonight was a big night for the Capitals. The Blue Jackets aren’t exactly breathing down the Capitals’ necks in the standings, but they are just 11 points out and playing well lately - so a win for the Caps would give them a nice four-point night. With Carolina lurking tomorrow, winning tonight was a must and they did just that with a commanding... albeit weird game.

Plus: The Capitals got a good dose of luck tonight, which they don’t often get. They need to save it for the playoffs!

Minus: T.J. Oshie left late in the third period with a lower body injury. Losing Oshie multiple times all season has been no fun. Hopefully, it’s just something small.

A few more notes on the game:

  • The Capitals opened the scoring when Anthony Mantha had a beautiful breakaway move that slid the puck five-hole to give the good guys a 1-0 lead. The Capitals have been a whole different team since Mantha returned to action. He’s crucial to the Capitals success.
  • Mantha cashed in again with a, let’s be honest, lucky-ass goal. His shot ricocheted off a Columbus player, off the backboards then their goalie kicked it into the net. The Capitals will take it.
  • The Capitals came out running in the second period with a couple of great chances, and one of them found the back of the net. Martin Fehervary, of all people, was in in a two-on-zero with Daniel Sprong. He went backhand with it and hit the goaltender but the puck somehow got through, trickling into the net to give the Capitals a 3-0 lead.
  • After the Caps failed on a few power play chances of their own, the Blue Jackets went up a man and after a nice tic-tac-toe play, cut the Caps’ lead to 3-1.
  • The Capitals drew another penalty and this time were able to convert with an Ovechkin ripper giving the Caps a 4-1 lead. It was a pretty play that included some quick passes with the final one being a nice one from Connor Sheary to Ovechkin.
  • Despite the Jackets’ power play goal, the Caps’ penalty killers did a solid job (amid some questionable officiating) killing off four of the five times shorthanded.
  • After an energy shift by the fourth line, Patrik Laine cashed in on a ridiculous deflection on a shot that was going way wide, getting a stick on it to cut the Caps lead to 4-2. Vanecek had no chance.
  • The Caps’ luck continued to put them back up by three when McMichael got a shot off and on the rebound a Blue Jackets player tried to stick handle too close to the net and sent it past his own goalie.
  • Lessons in Questionable Coaching: Columbus bench boss Brad Larson decided to make the bold decision to pull his goalie with almost THIRTEEN minutes left and the teams skating four a side... and it immediately bit him in the butt, as Conor Sheary almost immediately forced a turnover, took it down the ice and scored the easiest goal he’ll ever score. Caps up 6-2.
  • The Capitals added to their lead with an absolute snipe by Kuznetsov on the power play. It was pretty and gave the Caps a 7-2 lead.

Up Next: Capitals are right back at it tomorrow when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes at 7PM in Carolina.