Jackets Fall For First Time in Playoffs

Jackets fall in Game Three

The Capitals celebrate a double-overtime victory. Photo by AP.

The Columbus Blue Jackets suffered their first loss in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs last night. After going up 2-0 in the series, the Jackets returned home to Nationwide Arena to take on the reeling Washington Capitals. Even though the Jackets were 2-0 in the series, they actually trailed 2-0 in each of those games. They needed a quick start at home, and Nationwide Arena was ready to explode with excitement.

The Jackets wouldn’t get out to a quick start, however, nobody scored in the first period for either team. Tom Wilson scored to take a 1-0 lead for the Capitals about six minutes into the second period. The Capitals looked to take a 2-0 lead just two minutes later as Bobrovsky was getting mobbed with shots, but CBJ head coach John Tortorella challenged for offside. The challenge was successful, and the score remained 1-0.

Just over halfway through the game, Artemi Panarin found Pierre-Luc Dubois on the opposite side of the ice. PLD sent a snap shot at Braden Holtby and it got past him, tying the game at 1-1.

The excitement in Nationwide Arena did not last very long after the game-tying goal from Dubois, as Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Murray were each called for slashing penalties within about a minute of each other. The Capitals are good enough with a single man advantage, and the Jackets gave them a two man advantage. With the 5-on-3 action, the Capitals worked the puck around, and John Carlson scored his first goal of the post-season, making it a 2-1 game.

The Jackets went into the third period trailing 2-1, but they’ve come back from much worse, much more recently. About four minutes into the final period, Panarin and Cam Atkinson put on a passing clinic as they rushed up the ice. Holtby didn’t know who was going to take the shot because the puck was moving so quickly back and forth. Atkinson found Panarin at the last second, Panarin had a wide open net, and sent it home.

Panarin’s goal tied the game at 2-2, and sent Nationwide Arena into a frenzy. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much excitement after that. The third period came and went, the Blue Jackets had a power play opportunity but couldn’t capitalize. That really was the story of the night, the Blue Jackets hit the goalpost at least four different times, those pucks would have scored in the first two games. Sometimes it’s just not your night.

After an entire 20 minutes of overtime couldn’t decide this one, we went to a double overtime period. Nine minutes into double-overtime, Brett Connolly fired a shot at Bobrovsky that was deflected off his pad. Zach Werenski tried to clear the puck, instead it hit Lars Eller, bounced off Werenski, then off of Eller’s skate, and into the back of the net. Here are the full highlights from the game.

The Blue Jackets now hold a 2-1 series lead, and still have home-ice advantage. While the Jackets are in great shape in the series for what they did in Washington, Game Four almost feels like a must-win. It would be demoralizing to come home with a 2-0 series lead, and have to go back to Washington with a series tied at two wins apiece. Game Four is in Nationwide Arena on Thursday night at 7:30pm.