Capitals drop series opener to Blue Jackets

Kenny Tucker
April 14, 2018

The Blue Jackets defeated the Washington Capitals 4-3 in overtime in Game 1, overcoming multiple deficits along the way.

Quite a way for the Jackets to start off their playoff run, and this whole "series lead" business is something that is very new to them (they've had a very rough postseason history). Beagle led all Capitals forwards with an average of 2:31 of short-handed ice time per game. He was a big factor in Washington's Round 1 win against his hometown Maple Leafs previous year as well, scoring three goals in the six-game series.

But the Columbus Blue Jackets have a deeper rotation of wingers that will give them a leg up on the Capitals.

Maybe the Blue Jackets didn't, but they didn't make it easy on themselves, falling behind 2-0 on power-play goals by Evgeny Kuznetsov scored on Anderson's five-minute major penalty for boarding and injuring Washington's Michal Kempny. The Capitals did have control for a good portion in game one and they also outshot the Blue Jackets by a 30-27 margin.

As the period started to wind down, there was a twist in the game, and Columbus was soon down one man for five minutes, and then for the entirety of the game.

Columbus head coach John Tortorella declined comment on the hit, but Capitals bench boss Barry Trotz chose not to stay so quiet. I've got to be better and maybe pass up on that hit. The Capitals don't score as much, nor do they shoot as much.

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"I thought there's clearly numbers there", Trotz said.

Killorn's shot over the glove of goalie Kevin Kincaid's glove restored a two-goal lead before Kucherov, who led the Lightning with 100 points this season, ensured there would be no comeback. The CBJ can't expect to shutout Ovi, but if they can limit him to three goals or less in the series that would give the Jackets a real chance at winning this series. In Sergei Bobrovsky, the Jackets have a game-changer goalie.

This is the first playoff meeting between the teams, but in his career versus Washington, Bobrovsky is 7-10-4 with a 3.02 GAA and.900 save percentage. This power play is (and has been) a huge issue for any opponent, even those with a stellar penalty kill. "You just have to stay focused and play your game no matter what".

With Beagle missing Game 1, greater responsibility will fall on rookie Chandler Stephenson, who will be making his National Hockey League postseason debut.

Doughty, a Norris Trophy contender and Los Angeles' top defender, was suspended for Friday night's Game 2 against Vegas for what the league called an avoidable hit to Carrier's head. His visor took the brunt of the shot, but the puck had caught Foligno just enough to send him to the ice. Capitals' captain Alex Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet in game one, however he was productive against the Blue Jackets this season, notching four points in four games. Washington went to overtime for the seventh time in its past 14 playoff games.

Beagle missed the final three games of the regular season with an upper-body injury and did not practice with the team earlier this week. That includes recently acquired center Mark Letestu, who's been centering the fourth line.

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