BLUE JACKETS 3 | CAPITALS 2
The Blue Jackets just keep finding a way to get it done.
Tonight, it took a collective effort - including a big effort from goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who had his number called early and often against the Washington Capitals. He made 39 saves to move to 5-0-0 in December, and Nick Foligno's 13th of the season came on the power play in overtime to complete the rally for Columbus. The game began as a repeat of their last visit to Verizon Center, when some tough bounces and early penalties put them behind the eight-ball right off the get-go.
Eric Fehr scored on the power play 3:19 into the game, mere moments after the Blue Jackets had killed off a 66-second two-man advantage and were 30 seconds away from escaping unscathed. John Carlson had some room in the slot and fired on goal, where Fehr got a stick on it and beat Bobrovsky inside the post.
Foligno’s first of two goals tied things up at 15:36 of the first, taking a slick pass off the wall and walking in to beat Braden Holtby glove side for his 12th of the season. And thanks to Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets finished 20 minutes in 1-1 despite being out-shot 13-6 and not having many quality chances.
The shot count was 28-10 favoring the Capitals after two periods, and in the second, the Blue Jackets had to kill off a four-minute penalty to James Wisniewski (double minor for roughing and slashing). Bobrovsky racked up seven saves on the extended penalty kill, including a couple of huge stops on Alex Ovechkin and Fehr in front of the net.
“(Bobrovsky) was good, he was very good,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. “He made some big saves for us. He kept us in it, and he gave us a chance.
“One of the growing processes that we had to go through when things weren’t going well for us is that we didn’t respond (the way they are now). A positive sign is that when we were down 1-0 and 2-1 is that the guys stuck with it. We got some saves when we needed them, we got one and that gives us some life.”
Columbus had to overcome some adversity in the third period once again, but as they’ve done often on this five-game winning streak, they shook it off and kept going.
Kevin Connauton scored just 1:39 after Troy Brouwer gave Washington a 2-1 lead midway through the third period.
“I just wanted to get on shot a net because we had traffic and I was fortunate that it went in,” Connauton said. “The guys that were out there did a great job getting the puck back, and we had a lot of pressure. After (the first period) we did a good job of funneling pucks to the net, getting traffic and walking away with two points.”
The relatively uneventful kill of the Wisniewski double minor gave the Blue Jackets a big jolt headed into the third period. The Capitals’ deadly power play had another chance to do damage, but the Jackets stepped up and sacrificed their bodies to block shots, collapse shooting lanes and not give the Capitals any free opportunities.
“It says a lot about our resiliency right now, the way we’re finding ways to battle back in games,” Foligno said.
vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET