The exhibition season serves many purposes, and one of them is to acclimate players with new teammates and get into the flow of NHL games again. Against the Washington Capitals at Nationwide Arena, there was a lot of that.
But first, the result: the Blue Jackets weathered a late two-goal splurge from the Capitals, and earned the win thanks to Alexandre Giroux's one-timer on the power play in overtime. Washington, down 3-1 with 2:26 to play, tallied goals from Andrew Carroll and Roman Hamrlik to force extra time.
Columbus and Washington played a spirited preseason contest for the better part of 60 minutes, chock full of penalty minutes, a couple of fluke goals and some combativeness.
Head coach Scott Arniel wanted to get the remaining veterans into the lineup, and that list included center Jeff Carter, captain Rick Nash and starting goaltender Steve Mason. Making his first start of the preseason, Mason looked every bit the part of a cool and composed goalie – steering rebounds into the corner off his stick or absorbing the puck into his equipment.
-For the second consecutive game, winger Maksim Mayorov made a good account of himself on the ice. He scored a gorgeous shorthanded goal in the second period, going top-shelf on a touch feed from R.J. Umberger. Arniel has said there are some forward spots up for grabs during training camp, and it looks like Mayorov heeded the message.
-Carter was confident with the puck in his debut, and the top line overall played a sturdy game. They threatened late in the third period and nearly won the game in overtime. It’s just the first go-round, but we will see a lot more of the Nash-Carter tandem in the coming games.
-Injury news: Arniel revealed post-game that goalie Mark Dekanich suffered a high-ankle sprain Tuesday night vs. Winnipeg, and is expected to miss four weeks. Theo Ruth (lower-body) and Tomas Kubalik (concussion) are among the injured, as well.
-Another game, another strong showing from Cam Atkinson. The Boston College product put his nifty hands on display with a backhander in the first period.
-A beauty from David Savard made it 3-1 Columbus midway through the third period. Mayorov, from behind the net, found Savard off the point and the defenseman deked to the slot and beat Braden Holtby to the glove hand side.
-Steve Mason: solid. Looked in position, top of his crease and in control for most of the night. He played the balance of the game and made 27 saves.
Arniel on Steve Mason: "I thought he was outstanding. When we were slow to get going there in the early going, they had some quality chances and he came up with the stops. He made the saves he needed to make, and it’s unfortunate we gave up a couple of sloppy goals late. He was good tonight."
Arniel the play of young players: "When you have young guys (playing well), they are the players you want to see a spark from. We played a few kids tonight, gave them lots of minutes and put them in positions to have success. I thought there were guys that got to play against some pretty good hockey players and did a good job." Arniel on the play of Mayorov: "As a penalty-killer and a shutdown guy, (Mayorov understands) that has skill can come from that. Max knows his role, he knows there's a job open there and from day one of training camp he's been very determined. He's a guy that's looking to stay here."
1.Maksim Mayorov (CBJ) – 1 goal, 1 assist (+1)
2.David Savard (CBJ) – 1 goal, 1 assist (+1)
3.Alexandre Giroux (CBJ) – game-winning goal (PP)