The Washington Capitals returned to the win column on Friday night with a gritty 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Capitals head directly to Miami following the game, where they will take on the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
Coach Trotz voiced his displeasure with the play of the 4th line following the loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, and hinted that there would be changes to the line for tonight’s tilt against the Blue Jackets. As a result, Chandler Stephenson was a healthy scratch, Brooks Laich was moved to center and Michael Latta was inserted into Laich’s position. Lines for the game:
The Capitals were a bit sloppy in the first period-and-a-half of this one. Both Braden Holtby and Sergei Bobrovsky were on point for this one, both making some pretty nice saves throughout the entire game. T.J. Oshie scored his 21st career game-winning goal in the third period and led all skaters in shots (6). Oshie has registered eight points in his last seven games (4g, 4a). The Capitals were 3 for 3 on the penalty kill tonight and have killed 10 consecutive penalties (10/23-10/30). Braden Holtby stopped 29 of 30 shots tonight to earn his sixth win of the season. Holtby has registered a 1.90 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in eight games this season.
A bit of a sloppy start for the Caps, but with no damages to the scoreboard. The Caps would not get their first shot on goal until 6:40 into the contest. The Blue Jackets Matt Calvert was called for hooking at 10:13 of the first, giving the Caps the game’s first power play, however the Caps couldn’t generate much in the way of chances and were unable convert. Tom Wilson was called for hooking at 12:47 of first. The Caps held the Jackets to just one shot during the power play. T.J. Oshie drew a tripping call from Matt Calvert at 18:32 of first. The Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky would come up big on several Capitals chances, keeping the game scoreless after one period. The Blue Jackets led in SOG 10-9.
The Capitals started the second period with 32 seconds remaining on the power play, but the Caps could not capitalize. Braden Holtby and Sergei Bobrovsky continued excellent play, keeping the game scoreless. The Capitals continued to struggle to attain sustained pressure. Trotz even returned Nicklas Backstrom to the first line with Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie for a shift to try and light a spark, but to no avail. Finally, Justin Williams knocked in a dart from the high slot to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 14:16 of the second period.
The Capitals increased the offensive surge late in the 3rd period, however were unable to add any additional tallies to the scoreboard, and headed to the 2nd intermission with a 1-0 lead.
The Blue Jackets went on an early power play on a delay of game penalty call on Brooks Orpik at 3:52 of the 3rd period. Columbus was unable to generate much offensive pressure, and the Capitals were able to successfully kill the penalty. The Capitals would stretch the lead to 2-0 on a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal. Alex Ovechkin picked up a fortuitous bounce at center ice, then dished to Nicklas Backstrom who fed T.J. Oshie for the goal at the 11:59 mark.
The Blue Jackets would strike back. The Capitals couldn’t corral a loose puck in front of their own goal, and the Jackets Matt Calvert was able to knock a top shelf backhander over Braden Holtby’s glove to make it 2-1 with 5:15 left. The Capitals were able to stymie the Blue Jackets the remainder of the way, pulling out the win, 2-1.