The Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals will face off this afternoon in Game 5 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup. Although momentum may be on the Capitals’ side after tying up the series on Thursday in Columbus, the Jackets could have an edge as the visitors considering the road team has won every game so far in the series. Puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 3:00 PM ET.
After three straight overtime games, Thursday’s matchup at Nationwide Arena was an outlier as the Capitals defeated the Blue Jackets by a score of 4-1.
Head coach John Tortorella didn’t have much explanation for his team’s struggles in Game 4, saying:
We weren’t good…I’m telling you we laid an egg, so, I’m not gonna break it down for ya. We sucked.
He did, however, confidently say his team would be better going forward:
It’s on us. We have to figure it out. And we will.
Tortorella also made a good point about where the Jackets are at in the series, something we all could use a reminder of:
We are not down in the damn series.
If they’re going to avoid going down 3-2, the Blue Jackets are going to need to do better on special teams. The power play, which was 4-for-8 in Games 1 and 2 in Washington, has gone 0-7 in their last two games.
The penalty kill needs to improve as well. Columbus has allowed seven goals in 20 chances for Washington throughout the series. To put that in perspective, the Capitals have scored 14 total goals in this series, meaning half of their scoring has come on the man advantage. The CBJ will have to do better.
Something that should help is the return of Alexander Wennberg, who scored a goal in Game 1 before being knocked out with an upper body injury. After missing Games 2, 3, and 4, Wennberg is slated to return to the lineup this afternoon in Washington.
With the series knotted up at 2-2, it’s down to a best-of-three at this point with the first one coming today in the nation’s capital. Coming off a disappointing performance on Thursday night, we’ll see if the CBJ back themselves up against the wall and lay another egg, or if they come out and force the issue to come home for Game 6 looking to take their first playoff series in franchise history. Stay tuned.