BLUE JACKETS 4 | CAPITALS 3
Corey Tropp Post Game
Ryan Johansen Post Game
Cam Atkinson Post Game
Todd Richards Post Game
Cam Atkinson Goal
ANALYSIS: Well, after a scoreless first period, the Blue Jackets and Capitals combined for five goals in the second period - but the Jackets will be kicking themselves after their last two goals. They've given up two goals to Washington on the shift following Ryan Johansen's 18th of the season and Fedor Tyutin's second, quickly turning two-goal leads into a pair of slim one-goal margins, and that's where we stand after 40 minutes in Columbus. Mark Letestu also got his fifth of the season to open the scoring, capping off a solid shift by the fourth line early in the middle period. Johansen's was a beauty, ripping a one-timer from the high slot off a feed from Kevin Connauton. Tyutin bombed one through heavy traffic to make it 3-1, but 36 seconds later, Troy Brouwer responded for the Capitals to make it 3-2. A big 20 minutes ahead for both teams at Nationwide Arena, with shots favoring the visitors 23-18.
Mark Letestu Goal
Ryan Johansen Goal
Fedor Tyutin Goal
Second Period Highlights
ANALYSIS: You never really know what you're going to get in the first period of regular season hockey after a mini-break, but there was a lot to like from the Blue Jackets in the opening period. They skated, they forechecked and had some opportunities in the offensive zone beacause of it. They were unsuccessful on two power play attempts but played a solid game 5-on-5, which is something they've worked on a lot over the last few weeks. A big moment came late in the first period when the Capitals got a power play chance thanks to a Fedor Tyutin high-sticking penalty, but Curtis McElhinney did a nice job to eliminate rebounds and find pucks through traffic. Alex Ovechkin has made his presence felt, though, attempting eight shots in the period and setting up shop in the left circle on the power play. The Capitals lead in shots, 12-6, after 20 minutes.
First Period Highlights
Ryan Johansen Pre-Game
Jared Boll Pre-Game
Todd Richards Pre-Game
UPDATE (11:05 AM): Todd Richards confirmed that Jack Skille is healthy, but he will not play tonight. He also confirmed that Matt Calvert will be in the lineup after missing practice due to illness yesterday. He expects him to be at full-strength.
- Richards was asked about battling the possible hang-over effect that may come with an extended All-Star break, but the coach was not concerned. Richards said it was no different than Christmas break, and he felt his team played well coming out of that stretch away from the rink.
- Richards is confident in goaltender Curtis McElhinney's ability to carry the Jackets as they look to push back into the playoff race. "He's made timely saves. To me, it's been reminiscent of how he played last season when (Bobrovsky) went down with an injury and he stepped in and won some big games for us. It's no different."
- Richards was asked what he thought about the Capitals strong play this season, and felt a lot of credit goes to bench boss Barry Trotz. "I'm a fan of the coach," said Richards, before also mentioning Washington's top-end talent. "I think he's come in and reshaped things from the locker room all the way out to on the ice."
UPDATE (10:05 AM): Here are the lines and pairings from this morning's skate....
- Jared Boll, a healthy scratch for the final two games before the All-Star break, appears to be returning to the lineup tonight. Jack Skille was the extra forward in line rushes
- Artem Anisimov and Ryan Murray were both on the ice towards the end of the skate as they continue to work their way back towards a return.
UPDATE (10:00 AM): Matt Calvert, who missed practice yesterday, is on the ice for the team's morning skate at Nationwide Arena.
Welcome back to the regular season, everyone!
What a fantastic All-Star celebration here in Columbus and a big "thank you" goes to all of you for helping make it happen. The All-Star Winter Park was packed all weekend, the public skating sessions on the outdoor rink sold out regularly, and the snow slide was the talk of the town.
But now, it's back to work for the Blue Jackets and they have a familiar foe in town as they begin what will need to be a feverish push to get back in the playoff picture.
The Washington Capitals make their second trip to Columbus since Dec. 18 when they won 5-4 in overtime, erasing a late 4-3 deficit and picking up a big bonus point.
Here are some pre-game notes:
- Curtis McElhinney is the guy going forward for Columbus after it was announced yesterday that Sergei Bobrovsky will miss 4-6 weeks with a groin injury. Don't be surprised if he's the starter tonight.
- Artem Anisimov (torn triceps) and Ryan Murray (knee)practiced yesterday with the team and looked as though they had no restrictions. They've not been cleared to play yet or been activated off IR, but that day is quickly approaching.
- Matt Calvert was not at practice yesterday.
- Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno were given the day off yesterday but both are expected in the Jackets' lineup tonight.