The Capitals welcomed the Columbus Blue Jackets to Verizon Center for the second time this season. The two teams are now in the same division because of the realignment in the NHL. In the first game between them the Capitals pulled off a 4-1 win on October 19th in a game where Braden Holtby was four minutes and 55 seconds away from his first shut out of the season. Artem Anisimov spoiled Holtby’s night with a nice one time goal from the slot assisted by Marian Gaborik.
Tuesday’s game was a different story however. Holtby let up three goals in the 4-3 OT win, letting up two more goals than the last time the two met. Although Holtby wasn’t 100% to blame for all the goals in Tuesday’s game, the Capitals defense was no where near at their best and it should have cost them. Tuesday was one of the frustrating games where a better team can play poorly and win at home. Something that happened to the Capitals when they lost in a shootout against the Phoenix Coyotes on November 9th in Glendale.
The first was nothing to write home about, both teams had a few chances but none too dangerous. Columbus started up the scoring with a short handed goal from Brandon Dubinsky 7:50 into the second. Troy Brouwer turned over the puck behind the Capitals net, and Dubinsky beat Holtby on a forehand to backhand move around the goalies poke check. The third short handed goal the Capitals power play has given up this year. The Capitals answered with 6:00 left in the seconded with a even strength goal from John Carlson.
Martin Erat made the play happen with a great pass around back of Blue Jacket defenseman Dalton Prout as Sergei Bobrovsky came out to cover up the puck. Carlson was rewarded for crashing the net, and tapped his fourth goal of the season home. Tom Wilson was the only Capital able to celebrate, although it was short lived as Carlson tripped it up and the two ended in the net. Erat got his fourth point in two games against the Blue Jackets, a team he saw a lot of during his days in Nashville.
The Capitals took their first lead of the game with 100:04 left in the third. Joel Ward scored his ninth of the year, a shorty after Bobrovsky misplays a puck behind his own net, the puck landed his stick and he put it away. The lucky bounce for the Caps came right after RJ Umberger rung the post. Luck switched sides when the Blue Jackets equalized with a goal from Jared Boll. Boll chose a perfect time to get his first goal of the season by simply standing in front of the net. James Wisniewski’s shot deflected off Boll’s left leg pad while he fought with Nate Schmidt for positioning in front 11:22 into the third. Cam Atkinson then put the Blue Jackets in the lead with a goal with 5:43 left in the game. RJ Umberger made the play happen by clearing the puck out of the Blue Jackets defensive zone. The bouncing puck couldn’t be handled by Mike Green, Atkinson took advantage and was in on a breakaway. He slid the puck between Holtby’s legs and all Mike Green could do is watch as his hook on Atkinson hand wasn’t enough to stop him. With 1:45 left Mikhail Grabovski tied it at three after he roofed a shot after a Jason Chimera shot was blocked in front. Grobovski’s sixth of the season ended up being the goal that send us to overtime.
It only took the Capitals a little over 90 seconds to find the OTGWG off the stick of captain Alex Ovechkin. His shot came over a Marcus Johansson rebound. Johansson took it from the Caps blue line, down the side boards, avoided a hit and took the puck to a dangerous area.
The win is the 10th for the Caps this season putting them in second place behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and 7th overall in the Eastern conference. The Capitals play again Friday in “HockeyTown” as they face the Detroit Red Wings for the first time since they joined the Eastern Conference.