The Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals met in Washington, D.C. on Saturday afternoon in yet another close matchup. After taking both games on the road in overtime in Games 1 and 2, the Jackets weren’t so lucky this time at Capital One Arena.
After “laying an egg” in Game 4, the Blue Jackets did something on Saturday that they hadn’t done all series: jump out to a 1-0 lead.
Seconds after the half-way point of the first period while the Capitals were on a power play, Matt Calvert went in on a two-on-one opportunity with Josh Anderson, shot the puck and beat Braden Holtby to make it 1-0 CBJ.
Just 3:14 later, Nicklas Backstrom was the recipient of a fortunate bounce when he sent a puck on net that hit David Savard’s skate, hopped in the air, and trickled off Sergei Bobrovsky’s back and across the line to tie the game up at one goal apiece, a score that would hold as the two teams went into the first intermission.
Early in the second period, the Caps took the lead. Coming off a bad CBJ line change, Evgeny Kuznetsov beat Bobrovsky to make it 2-1 Washington.
Less than two minutes later, the Jackets responded.
Matt Calvert found himself in on a breakaway, whiffed on a wrister, spun around and sent a backhander past Holtby to tie the game up at 2-2 at the 4:45 mark of the second period.
With 3:18 left in the second period, the Capitals regained the lead when T.J. Oshie deflected a John Carlson shot into the net just 14 seconds into a Caps power play.
After two periods, the CBJ were 0-for-4 on the man advantage and in the middle of what would be their fifth failed power play of the afternoon.
Despite the special teams’ struggles, the Jackets controlled the third period.
Just 2:30 into the third, Oliver Bjorkstrand got on the board as he deflected an Ian Cole shot by Holtby to even up the score again.
Although the Jackets outshot the Capitals 16-1 in the third period, they couldn’t get another one in as the game went to overtime for the fourth time in five games.
John Tortorella praised both goaltenders after the game:
I thought both goalies played really well. We had some really good chances in the third too and the OT…Two good goalies. Good game.
Both sides had good chances in overtime, but it was another deflection, this time by Nicklas Backstrom, that ultimately ended the game at the 8:07 mark of OT.
Just like Game 3, the Blue Jackets outplayed the Capitals for much of the game despite having nothing to show for it at the end of the day.
After the game, Seth Jones spoke about what the CBJ did differently than in Game 4:
We just competed harder…We were physical. We worked em’ down low…We made smart decisions with the puck…That’s when we’re at our best, is when we’re making teams defend us—down low in their own zone.
Nick Foligno touched on that same subject, saying:
For the most part…we did all the little things right, and just a couple of em’ cost us.
With their backs now against the wall, Tortorella didn’t mince any words when he said confidently:
We’ll be back here for Game 7.
The CBJ will be back at Nationwide Arena for Game 6 on Monday night in a win-or-go-home situation as they look to tie the series up 3-3.