The Columbus Blue Jackets visited the nation’s capital on Saturday night to take on the Metropolitan Division leading Washington Capitals. In what had been a drama-filled week for the CBJ, the team was looking for another solid performance following a win over the Nashville Predators a couple days prior.
About the best you can hope for in a road game is to get off to a quick start. And the Blue Jackets did just that.
With fans still finding their way to their seats just after the opening faceoff, Markus Nutivaara sprung Cam Atkinson loose on a breakaway. Cam put a little move on Caps goalie Braden Holtby and beat him on a backhander to put the visitors on top 1-0 just 60 seconds into the contest.
The 1-0 lead would hold for the majority of the remainder of the game.
The Capitals were finally able to solve CBJ goalie Joonas Korpisalo with 1:06 left in third period when Evgeny Kuznetsov sent a slap shot into the back of the net to tie the game up and ultimately send it into overtime.
Korpisalo, who was making his second consecutive start following the in-house discipline the team handed down to Sergei Bobrovsky, had stopped the first 31 shots on net before Kuznetsov tied the game. Both he and the defense in front of him played well all night. Following the game, Seth Jones talked about the defensive play of the Jackets, saying:
We did a lot of great things. We didn’t give them very many opportunities, and when we did, Korpi stood in there tall.
In overtime, Boone Jenner had one of the key plays of the game when he drove hard to the net and drew a slashing penalty with 1:41 remaining in the OT period.
Once the CBJ were able to get set up in offensive zone with a 4-on-3 advantage, Seth Jones fed Artemi Panarin, who ripped a one timer past the Washington goaltender, to record his second power play overtime game winner in as many games. The goal once again came from the left faceoff dot – a location from which opposing star winger Alexander Ovechkin has often set up shop for years.
In a week that saw the Jackets get shut out against the best team in the league, followed by news that their Vezina winning, potential free-agent-to-be goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, the Blue Jackets bounced back from the adversity against the Predators and Capitals, both very good teams in their own right. Going 2-1 against teams of their caliber, considering all that went on, has to be considered a successful week for the CBJ.
The week’s not over yet, though, as the CBJ will rush back home to take on the New York Rangers at 6:00 PM ET at Nationwide Arena on Sunday evening. Former captain Rick Nash is expected to be back in the building, and fans will get to see if John Tortorella sticks with the hot Joonas Korpisalo, or goes back to his trusty #1 option, Sergei Bobrovsky.