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FINAL: Capitals 2, Blue Jackets 1 (OT)

Jakob Lilja scores first NHL goal as CBJ point streak reaches nine

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

The Blue Jackets extended their point streak to nine with a 2-1 loss in overtime vs. Washington at Capital One Arena in the District of Columbia on Friday night. 

Game in a Paragraph 

Considering these division rivals played for the third time in 19 days, it was the spirited affair one might expect. Columbus took a 1-0 lead in the second period, but the Metro-leading Caps battled back to tie it early in the third. From there, the tight game deserved overtime and got it, with T.J. Oshie scoring on the power play to give the Caps the win.

Video: CBJ Recap: Lilja scores in OT loss to Capitals

Quote of the Game

Head coach John Tortorella: "We did a lot of good things as far as the game is concerned. … I'm gonna look at the good things. I thought we played hard. It's a team that's a team. I think that's the only way you can survive all the things that have gone on with our personnel. It's kind of fun to be around.

CBJ Notables 

  • Jakob Lilja became the sixth Blue Jackets player to net his first career NHL goal this season when he tallied in the second period off passes from Riley Nash and Ryan MacInnis. The latter earned his first NHL point with the helper. 
  • Joonas Korpisalo was again excellent, with a number of big stops among his 34 saves. He's now 3-0-1 vs. Washington in his career with a .961 save percentage. 

Quick Recap 

There were a slew of chances in a scoreless first period, but both goaltenders stood tall. Washington's Ilya Samsonov, making his first career appearance against the Jackets, made breakaway saves on Eric Robinson and Nick Foligno, while Korpisalo made early saves on the rush against Nic Dowd and Alex Ovechkin. 

Both teams had excellent power-play chances in the early going of the second, with Dowd making a crucial stick check on Gus Nyquist as he appeared to have an open net and Korpisalo turning aside Lars Eller and Jakub Vrana late in a Caps' man-advantage. 

That set up the first goal of the game, with Lilja tallying to make it a 1-0 contest in favor of the Blue Jackets. MacInnis made a nice pass from his backside to Nash cutting to the net, and he slid a cross-crease feed to Lilja to slam home at the right doorstep for his first NHL goal. 

"It was a really good play by those two guys," Nash said. "Macker made an awesome play. He was on his butt, so he stuck with it to find me. It's funny, a couple of years ago, I had the exact same pass to a guy (Noel Acciari) for his first goal, so I don't know. If my next linemate doesn't have a goal, I'm going to see if I can do that all night."

Video: CBJ@WSH: Lilja buries Nash's feed for first NHL goal

From there, it was the Korpisalo show the rest of the period as the Caps applied the pressure. He stopped a laser from Dowd again late in the period then had some excellent stops on another Caps' power play, snagging a T.J. Oshie shot in the slot and then using his full pad to stop Eller in close late. 

Kevin Stenlund hit the post as well for the Jackets late in the second, and things reached full tilt in the final minute when a hit from Tom Wilson sent Lilja into the boards and off the ice for evaluation. On the next shift, Foligno and Washington defender Jonas Siegenthaler exchanged cross checks in a battle along the boards before dropping the gloves, with Foligno easily winning the decision. 

Washington finally got on the board at 6:13 of the third period as veteran Carl Hagelin scored his first goal of the year. The Caps pounced on a clearing attempt and Richard Panik set up Hagelin in front, and while his first shot hit the post, Hagelin slid the rebound in from the crease while being dropped to the ice.  

The Caps then nearly took the lead shortly thereafter as Vrana got open in front on a rush and drilled a slap shot off the far post. Columbus pushed for the winning goal late and forced some good saves out of Samsonov in the final five minutes, but the game went to overtime with the score tied at 1. 

Washington controlled overtime and drew a penalty 2:18 in, with the winner coming at 3:13. Nicklas Backstrom caught Korpisalo off guard with a quick shot, and Oshie crashed the net to drive the rebound home while the Caps were on the 4-on-3 power play.

3 Takeaways

1. That's three games on the season vs. Washington and five points earned by the Blue Jackets, with all of them coming during the team's nine-game point streak. You could argue that the performances against the Capitals, who lead the NHL in points, have served as an inspiration for the Jackets, who have built off of each performance against the Washington team. After all, if you can stand toe-to-toe with the best, that's usually a pretty good sign. So is there a common denominator to the performances? Strong defensive play has marked all three games -- the Caps are second in the NHL in scoring but have five goals in the three games vs. Columbus -- but it might just be that the Blue Jackets have met Washington at the right time. "I think we just play hard," Nash said. "I think that's been a product of what we've been doing lately. It's hard to say because when I played on other teams, we got our butts kicked every time."

2. It's becoming a broken record, but what can you say about Korpisalo? He turned in another standout performance, and there was no rust in his game after the holiday break as he frustrated Washington throughout the second period and into the early throes of the third when the Caps were truly buzzing. Tortorella spoke pregame about needing to find a spot to get Elvis Merzlikins some starts, but Korpisalo has been so good he's almost hard to take off the ice. "He was unbelievable," Foligno said. "He made some saves that I think we were a little rusty, and thank God he wasn't. I think he was in the goalie simulator all break."

3. How about the play of the Jackets' fourth line? The trio of Lilja, Nash and MacInnis has been an unlikely driver for the Blue Jackets recently, putting a goal on the board tonight but also playing a hard, responsible game that has allowed Tortorella the confidence to put the trio on the ice late in games. "They've given us some good minutes," Tortorella said. "To have a veteran center with those two guys, I think those two guys, Lils and Mac, are doing a really good job on the wall. Learning the game, learning situational play. It's been a good line for us."

Notable 

The Blue Jackets are 5-1-1 vs. the Caps over the past two seasons. ... Boone Jenner won 17 of 25 faceoffs, with the 17 wins a season high for a Blue Jackets player. ... Seth Jones played 29:57, most for a CBJ player in a game this season. ... Pierre-Luc Dubois' four-game point streak came to a close. ... Hagelin's goal was the first given up in the third period by the Blue Jackets since the last game vs. Washington on Dec. 9, and it ended a scoring streak of more than 108 minutes for Korpisalo against the Caps. … Ovechkin has 22 shots on goal vs. Korpisalo this year and just one goal. … Columbus fell to 5-6 in 3-on-3 overtime this year, and four of those losses have come via goals allowed with the opposing team on the power play. ... Vladislav Gavrikov improved to plus-11 in the last 11 games. ... Washington still has not lost two consecutive games in regulation all season.

Roster Report 

The Blue Jackets made one change to the lineup; with Scott Harrington out with illness, defenseman Gabriel Carlsson re-entered the 18. Other scratches included injured forward Sonny Milano and defenseman Adam Clendening. 

Up Next 

The Blue Jackets return to Nationwide Arena for a Sunday evening game at 5 p.m. vs. Chicago.  

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