Capitals’ scoring boom continues against Columbus in a 6-2 win
The Capitals returned to the road facing the Columbus Blue Jackets in their first matchup of the season. What started as yet another slow start for the Capitals gave way to a four-goal second period. The outburst exploded into a massive lead that carried over into the third period and won the evening for the Capitals. The offense was powered by TJ Oshie, who scored two goals in his second game back. Dylan Strome assisted on three of the goals.
The match began much as its predecessor did with poor puck management by the Capitals. This led to the Blue Jackets receiving several odd-man rushes, leaving Goalie Darcy Kuemper to fend off these attacks. At 5:19 in the period, Johnny Gaudreau struck to give Columbus the lead. On the play, the Capitals were attempting to clear the zone. Nicolas Aube-Kubel overhandled the puck leading to a turnover that was picked up by Gaudreau and scored upon Kuemper high to the glove side. Despite outshooting Columbus 13 to eight the road team found themselves at the end of the period.
Fortunately, for the Capitals, they approached the second period with a completely different attitude. TJ Oshie scored the first of his two goals, his seventh of the season, at 1:51 of the period. Nick Jensen’s well-placed point shot rebounded off of goalie Elvis Merzlikins. The puck hit several bodies in front and then was scooped up by Oshie, who put away the rebound for the score. Aube-Kubel then scored for the capitals nearly 10 minutes later to make up for his earlier mistake. A clearing attempt by Columbus hit Gustav Nyquist’s skate at the blue line. Aube-Kubel picked up the loose puck, skated in past the defense and tucked it in between Merzlikins blocker and the near post at 11:15. Columbus would answer at 12:59 when they began a cycle which they had received as a result of the turnover from Jensen. Gavin Bayreuther received the puck along the left side boards just above the circle and fired. The puck hit Kuemper, then bounced in the space between his left pad, and his glove hand and into the net to tie the game.
The next score was arguably the most confusing looking goal of the evening. Alex Alexeyev cycled the puck to Strome who looped a soft wrist shot toward the net. The puck caromed off several players, then finally off the top of Martin Fehervary’s helmet and into the net. This goal turned out to be the game-winner, and was credited to Fehervary with a time of 17:20. Garnet Hathaway put in a shot from the top of the crease at 18:57. The scoring chance began with a shot from Aliaksei Protas. Merzlikins made the save, but the shot caused him to lose his stick as well as his footing. Anthony Mantha recovered the rebound and moved behind the net feeding the puck perfectly to Hathaway, for an easy shot into a mostly wide-open net over the prone Merzlikins.
The game continued in the third period with the Capitals, earning their only two power-play chances of the night. TJ Oshie converted the first of the two at 6:41. Positioned in his customary bumper position, he collected the rebound from a shot by Strome, scoring from just above the goal crease. The game’s final goal came on the second power play from Alex Ovechkin. He was given a perfect cross-ice feed from Strome, firing still another well placed one-time shot for his 29th goal of the season at 13:05.
NOTES—Nic Dowd was unavailable for the game to be with his wife Paige after the birth of their second child, their daughter Ruby. The win is the Capitals’ seventh consecutive road victory. Washington has also gone nine straight games without a loss in regulation. They are also one point away from second place in the Metropolitan Division. Their next contest will be tomorrow night back at CapitalOne Arena against the Nashville Predators with a start time of 7 PM ET.