Columbus travels to the nation's capital to take on the league's best team- the Washington Capitals. One more win will earn the Capitals the President's Trophy for a team that has already clinched top spot in the East.
It has been a while since these two clubs have played, and the Capitals have made several changes to their team. The Caps acquired Mike Weber from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2017 3rd round draft pick; and acquired winger Daniel Winnik and a 2016 5th round pick of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for winger Brooks Laich, defenseman Connor Carrick, and a 2016 2nd round draft pick.
The last time they met was in late January, where the end of the game turned bizarre. First, lets backtrack to the start of the season where they first met at the season series is 2-1 Washington.
In D.C., summer acquisitions Justin Willams and T.J. Oshie scored for the Capitals; for the Jackets, Matt Calvert was the lone goal scorer. Braden Holtby stopped 29 of 30 for a 0.967 save percentage; Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 of 28 for a 0.929 save percentage.
In the second game, which was at Nationwide Arena, the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Washington Capitals by a final score of 5-4 overtime shootout.
The Caps got goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson, TJ Oshie, and Jason Chimera. In the shootout, Oshie scored a beauty on Anton Forsberg. Other players with points include Nicklas Backstrom, Matt Niskanen, Tom Wilson, and Karl Alzner. Brayden Holtby stopped 25 of 29 shots for a 0.862 save percentage (86.2%).
The Blue Jackets got goals from Jack Johnson (2) and Brandon Saad (2). In the shootout, they got goals from Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Johansen. Curtis McElhinney stopped 23 of 27 shots for a 0.852 save percentage (85.2%). After a scary incident in which Mac's leg got caught in a rough patch on the ice and suffering a leg injury, Anton Forsberg came in to replace him, and stopped all 6 shots against him in overtime (100%), and earning his first win as a NHL goalie.
The last game between these two clubs was also at Nationwide; however, the Washington Capitals defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets by a final score of 6-3 in the return of Sergei Bobrovsky.
Washington got goals from Andre Burkavosky, Nick Backstrom (2), Alex Ovechkin, Marcus Johanson, and Jason Chimera. Other players with points include Evgney Kuznetsov (4), Matt Niskanen (2), Justin Williams (2), and TJ Oshie. Braden Holtby saw 35 shots last night, and stopped 32 for a 0.914 save percentage (91.4%).
Columbus got goals in each period last night- Kerby Rychel, who scored the first of his career; Boone Jenner, and Ryan Murray. Other players with points include William Karlsson, Rene Borque, Alex Wennberg, and Seth Jones (2). Sergei was back, but didn't have a good outing, allowing 5 goals in 27 shots against for a 0.815 save percentage (81.5%).
Columbus Blue Jackets
Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Brandon Saad - Boone Jenner - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Scott Hartnell - Alex Wennberg - Nick Foligno
Rene Borque - Wiliam Karlsson - Gregory Campbell
Ryan Murray - Seth Jones
Dalton Prout - David Savard
Dean Kukan - Cody Goloubef
Scratched: John Ramage
Suspended: Jared Boll
Injured: Jack Johnson (shoulder), David Clarkson (back), Curtis McElhinney (knee), Fedor Tyutin (unknown)
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Justin Williams
Andre Burakovsky - Evgeny Kuznetsov - TJ Oshie
Jason Chimera - Marcus Johansson - Jay Beagle
Daniel Winnik - Mike Richards - Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Dimitri Orlov
Nate Schmidt - John Carlson
Scratched: Michael Latta, Mike Weber, Taylor Chorney, Stanislav Galiev
Players to Watch
Columbus: Matt Calvert. Last year, Calvert was on a successful line with Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson. This year, John Tortorella has brought that line back, but it is the Jackets' top line this year. It's good to see a guy like him earn top line minutes. He has also been a favorite of Torts.
Washington: Evgeny Kuznetsov. On a team as successful and talented as the Caps, one would guess the top point scored to be Nicklas Backstrom or Alex Ovechkin. Kuznetsov has quietly been one of the best players in the league, even having more points than both Backstrom and Ovi. He is immensely talented and could be a number one center on almost any other team in the league, but he is a second line center in Washington.
Enjoy the games tonight. More to come…