Blue Jackets Beat Capitals, 5-4, In First Game Back From All-Star Break; Hagelin, Dowd Each Tally Two Points

Photo: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 5-4 at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night in their first game back from the 2022 NHL All-Star break. The loss kept the Capitals five points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins (who have a game in hand) for third place in the Metropolitan Division, five behind the New York Rangers (one) for second, and six behind the Carolina Hurricanes (four) for first.

Goaltender Pheonix Copley made 15 saves on 19 shots before getting pulled in favor of Ilya Samsonov 2:40 into the third period (five of six) in his first NHL start since April 6, 2019.

Capitals’ Lines vs. Blue Jackets

Graphic: @Capitals

Captain Alex Ovechkin returned after missing Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers with COVID-19 while right-wing Brett Leason was re-assigned to the AHL’s Hershey Bears prior to Tuesday’s game. Left-wing Conor Sheary and right-wing Tom Wilson flipped lines while center Connor McMichael replaced Aliaksei Protas. Right-wings Daniel Sprong and Garnet Hathaway both bumped down a line with Ovechkin back.

Scratched: Protas, LHD Matt Irwin, LHD Michal Kempny, LHD Dennis Cholowski (waived)

Injured: RW T.J. Oshie (lower-body, missed 10th straight game, week-to-week), LW Anthony Mantha (shoulder, 38th, indefinite), G Vitek Vanecek (upper-body, second, status TBD)

First Period

Hathaway backhanded a rebound in front of the net lower glove-side after goaltender Elvis Merzlikins stopped center Nic Dowd’s shot from the slot with the pad to get the Capitals on the board first with 2:41 left in the period. Three of Hathaway’s eight goals this season have come in three games against the Blue Jackets. The 30-year-old is scoring at a career-high 0.35 points-per-game pace.

The Capitals led 11-4 in shots, 7-2 in takeaways, 3-2 in blocked shots, won 70% of the draws, was held off the board on one power-play opportunity, and had one giveaway while Columbus had two in the first.

The Blue Jackets led 13-5 in hits through 20 minutes.

Second Period

Dowd’s shot from in close was stopped by the pad of Merzlikins but the puck went off of Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski, who was tied up with Hagelin at the left post, and in to double the Capitals’ lead 40 seconds into the frame. It marked the sixth time that the Capitals scored in the opening minute of a period and Hagelin’s second multi-point game of the season (goal, assist in 5-3 win vs. Nashville Predators on December 29).

Left-wing Patrik Laine cut the Capitals’ lead in half, blasting a power-play goal past the blocker of Copley from the left dot after getting a feed from up top by defenseman Adam Boqvist at 9:38.

Boqvist went to the roof to finish off a four-way passing play from the slot after the Blue Jackets shut down a Capitals rush at the other end to tie it with 7:18 left.

Center Evgeny Kuznetsov ripped a wrister from the dot under Merzlikins’ glove after Ovechkin fed him cross rink and the puck went off of defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to give the Capitals the lead back on the power-play with 4:03 left. Ovechkin snapped a four-game point drought. Kuznetsov has 18 points (11 assists) in his last 19 games. With the assist, Ovechkin has passed Sergei Zubov (619) for the third-most assists by a Russian player in NHL history. Defenseman John Carlson recorded the secondary assist on the goal. With that assist, Carlson has passed Dale Hunter (556) for the sixth most points in franchise history (Carlson: 124 goals).

Laine ripped one from the top to tie it on the power play with three seconds left after right-wing Oliver Bjorkstrand flipped the puck back to him off of the draw on the backhand.

The Capitals led 22-18 in shots, 10-5 in takeaways, won 61% of the draws, struck once on three power-plays, and had two giveaways while the Blue Jackets tallied three through 40 minutes.

The Blue Jackets led 14-11 in second-period shots, 18-10 in hits, 9-7 in blocked shots, and scored twice on three opportunities on the man advantage in the first 40 minutes.

Third Period

Right-wing Trey Fix-Wolansky ripped a drop pass from from center Jack Roslovic and the puck leaked past the blocker of Copley to give the Blue Jackets their first lead of the night 2:40 into the third. The goal was the first of Fix-Wolansky’s NHL career in his first NHL game. Samsonov replaced Copley in goal.

Wilson jumped on a failed clearing attempt by Gavrikov in the slot after he blocked Sheary’s shot from the right dot and beat Merzlikins to the blocker with 2:26 remaining.

Center Boone Jenner backhanded a shot past the glove of Samsonov after right-wing Gustav Nyquist picked the puck up in the goal crease and gave the Blue Jackets the lead back with 44.4 seconds left.

The Capitals led 33-26 in shots (including 11-8 in the third), 11-9 in takeaways, won 62% of the draws, struck once on four power-plays, and had four giveaways while the Blue Jackets tallied seven.

The Blue Jackets led 27-17 in hits, 18-10 in blocked shots, and scored twice on three opportunities on the man advantage.

Next game: Thursday at Montreal Canadiens (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington in-market, ESPN+ out-of-market)

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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5 Responses to Blue Jackets Beat Capitals, 5-4, In First Game Back From All-Star Break; Hagelin, Dowd Each Tally Two Points

  1. Anonymous says:

    That one’s gonna leave a mark.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We need to call Goaltenders-R-Us ASAP.

  3. Anonymous says:

    2022 has been deplorable. But it looks like “firelaviolette.com” is still available, so he’s safe for right now.

  4. BobFV says:

    Samsonov has lost his mojo – let’s in a very soft goal right past his glove with 44 seconds left – maybe he will do well on another team, like Varlyamov did, but he’s had his chances here.

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