Blue Jackets Take Commanding 2-0 Lead Over Capitals

Blue Jackets Beat Capitals 5-4 in OT

The Jackets celebrate another major win. Photo by USA Today.

These Columbus Blue Jackets just have absolutely no quit in them. It’s something they’ve learned over the last month or so, that there’s no deficit than cannot be overcome. Just like in Game One, the Blue Jackets surrendered two goals in the first period, and were in a precarious position in our nation’s capital.

Also similar to Game One, the Jackets were not phased by being down 2-0 in a raucous environment like Capital One Arena. Jay Beagle got the party started for Washington, scoring a goal just over two minutes into the game. Alexander Ovechkin would add a power play goal a little over ten minutes later, and the Jackets were right back in the 2-0 hole.

Then Cam Atkinson happened.

Captain Nick Foligno picked up the puck next to Sergei Bobrovsky, made a move and fired the puck halfway down the ice on a rope to Cam Atkinson on the breakaway. Atkinson faked his forehand, his backhand, and came back to his forehand to slip the puck past Philipp Grubauer. The goal made it a 2-1 game with 1:35 left in the first period.

The second period would be a major period for the Blue Jackets, although it didn’t start out that way. Trailing 2-1, Brandon Dubinsky was called for high-sticking and the Capitals were on the power play yet again. Just like their second goal, Ovechkin would rip another shot and fire it past Bobrovsky, making it a 3-1 game.

About four minutes later, the Blue Jackets put on a clinic on passing the puck on a rush. Josh Anderson started the rush, who sent it up the left side to Matt Calvert. Calvert crossed the blue line and dished it over to Seth Jones, who left a beautiful drop pass to Zach Werenski, who hit a streaking Anderson along the right side, Anderson fired and scored.

Not two minutes later, Washington’s Tom Wilson was sent to the penalty box for roughing, and the Jackets were back on the power play. Artemi Panarin, Seth Jones, and Cam Atkinson controlled the puck at the top of the zone, working it around nicely. Panarin settled it down, waited, and found Atkinson on the back-side of the play, who ripped and scored through another small window, tying the game at 3-3.

With just under two minutes to go in the second period, the Capitals were again sent to the penalty box, thanks to Devante Smith-Pelly getting called for Holding the Stick. With another man-advantage, the Jackets worked the puck around the offensive zone, and found Zach Werenski up top at the point. Werenski fired a wrist-shot, likely hoping for a deflection, but Boone Jenner was blocking Grubauer’s view and the puck entered past Grubauer’s left side.

Three goals in a row in the second period gave the Jackets a 4-3 lead heading into the third period. Washington head coach Barry Trotz was not happy with Grubauer’s play, so he pulled him for Braden Holtby. Holtby, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, had yet to play in the series, but he came in and locked things down in the third period.

Perhaps he seemed to lock things down because the Blue Jackets were in the penalty box for what seemed to be the entire third period. In fact, with 7:37 to go in the game, three penalties were called on Columbus in a span of 5:38. The Blue Jackets were called for 8 penalties in the game, and on the 6th power play for the Capitals, they scored again. T.J. Oshie made it 4-4 with about 3:35 left in the game. For the second time in as many games, we were headed to Overtime.

Both teams had a lot of great opportunities in the Overtime period, but all were stopped by goaltenders Holtby and Bobrovsky. That is, until Matt Calvert sent the Jackets home with a 2-0 series lead. Calvert fought at the boards to keep the puck in the offensive zone, Josh Anderson got it and sent it across ice where Werenski picked it up. Werenski fired a shot that went off of Holtby’s pad, and with one hand on his stick, Calvert slapped it out of the air and into the back of the net. The CBJ Twitter account had a little fun with this one.

The Capitals challenged the goal, saying that the Jackets were offside before the offensive possession, and that the goal should never have counted. After what seemed like forever, the officials announced that the call on the ice would stand, and the game was over.

Once again, despite being down 2-0 in the first period, some questionable officiating, and a ridiculous discrepancy in the number of shots on goal, the Blue Jackets came away victorious in Overtime. Matty Calvert was the hero of the game, scoring the game-winning goal, but Sergei Bobrovsky was the best player on the ice. Bobrovsky faced a ridiculous 58 shots in the game, making a franchise record and career high 54 saves.

The Capitals seemed to be on the attack all game, and almost doubled the Jackets shots on goal numbers (58-30). The Capitals out-shot the Jackets 27-8 in the third period and OT. Cam Atkinson scored two big goals, while Seth Jones, Panarin, and Werenski were all credited with 2 assists. It was a major victory for the Jackets who return home to Nationwide Arena on Tuesday with a 2-0 series lead.