John Tortorella wasn’t interested in looking backward this morning.
The only way to move past Saturday's game would be to play a better game tonight against the league’s top team, and for the most part, the Blue Jackets were better.
Compared to their disastrous start in Nashville – a game in which Tortorella said Columbus was "overwhelmed" from start to finish – the Blue Jackets were much improved in a tough building, and had the Capitals frustrated offensively at times.
They hung around through 40 minutes and went into the third period in a 1-1 tie, but the Capitals took over in the third period and took advantage of Blue Jackets penalties in a 4-1 win at Verizon Center.
Two points for the Capitals clinched the Presidents Trophy as the NHL’s top regular season team, and it was the fifth straight road loss for the Blue Jackets.
Sergei Bobrovsky returned to the cage and did a fine job, tallying 36 saves to keep the game within reach and give his teammates a chance. But as has been the case often of late, offensive zone time and scoring chances were hard to come by for the Blue Jackets.
“That was the most disappointing part,” said Tortorella. “We had chances to create more offense, and it died. That’s what it is.”
Justin Williams scored on a rebound with 3:30 left in the first period, but Washington’s early lead did not last long.
Cam Atkinson pounced on a Capitals turnover and scored his 27th goal of the season from the high slot, pulling the Blue Jackets into a 1-1 deadlock at 18:06 of the first.
Washington out-shot the Blue Jackets 8-4 in the second period and it was probably the visitors’ best frame of the three, limiting time and space for the Capitals and not giving them much in the way of chances.
One of the storylines is this game concerned Boone Jenner, who took a puck to the mouth in the first period on a wicked deflection in front of the Washington net. It was a scary scene, with Jenner struggling back to the bench and blood covering his mouth and jersey.
After losing three teeth and getting 20 stitches, Jenner returned midway through the second period wearing a full cage before eventually changing to full visor in the third.
“(His teammates) expected it. That’s what Jenner is,” Tortorella said.
Hockey players, man.
The third period, however, was a struggle for the Blue Jackets. Tom Wilson scored on a rebound at 3:46, TJ Oshie added on with a power play goal at 14:26 and Nicklas Backstrom iced it with an empty netter at 17:35.
“You can’t take five (penalties) against them,” Tortorella. “But we’re not going to complain about penalties. We can’t complain about (crap), and we just have to keep on trying to get better.”