BLUE JACKETS 2 | CAPITALS 4
This movie looked too familiar: the Blue Jackets stumbled out of the gate, fell behind 2-0 early on and scrambled to recover the rest of the way.
Were they better in the final 30 minutes? Absolutely, and they nearly erased their first period troubles with a furious rally in the second half of the game - but it wound up being too little and too late. A bad bounce on the game’s second shift seemed to set an ominous tone, and it resulted in a tap-in for Washington get the scoring started early.
Tonight’s 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals was the Blue Jackets’ ninth consecutive defeat (0-8-1), tying a franchise record.
In the small picture: the Blue Jackets turned it around after an undisciplined first period and dominated long stretches of the game, coming within inches of tying the game on numerous occasions - including an early-third period crossbar from Scott Hartnell, who was behind the Capitals defense and one-on-one with Braden Holtby.
It seemed as though whenever they found some fortunate puck luck, there was some take on the other end.
“We have to create our own puck luck,” coach Todd Richards said.
In the big picture: it was another opportunity gone by the wayside and one that follows a familiar and frustrating theme. Just three days ago, the Blue Jackets fell behind 4-0 to Tampa Bay on home ice but found their game in the third period, rallying to make it interesting down the stretch. Tonight, they came out flying in the third period at Verizon Center but ultimately coming up short.
Marcus Johansson scored his first of two goals 96 seconds into the game, corralling a bouncing puck and tucking it past Curtis McElhinney for an early Washington lead.
Back-to-back minor penalties to Brian Gibbons (interference) and Fedor Tyutin (tripping) gave the Capitals lethal power play a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage, one that the Blue Jackets nearly had killed off…but when you’re talking about Alex Ovechkin, all he needs is one chance and he capitalized at 7:49 for a 2-0 lead.
Right now, it’s about finding something to build on and something to propel them forward and out of this funk that has lingered far too long. Their third period in Washington is hopefully that type of spark.
“We’re spotting them two goals and we tried to battle back,” James Wisniewski said. “We want to play like that for a full 60 minutes and usually it leads to a win, but we’re not getting that. It’s not for a lack of effort. I’m totally baffled, frustrated.
“We’ve got to get that feeling back…you don’t losing to become natural. The mind is a powerful thing; if you think bad things are going to happen, they’re going to happen.”
Down 3-2 and having their way in the Washington zone, the Blue Jackets had the tables turned against them and a huge goal scored by Johansson once again. He took a quick pass down low and circled the net, burying a wrap-around late in the third period to restore a two-goal lead for the Capitals.
1 - Johansson (WSH)
2 - Ovechkin (WSH)
3 - Jenner (CBJ)
at Philadelphia Flyers
Friday, 7 p.m. ET
Wells Fargo Center