Capitals end home stand with win against Columbus
It hasn’t been the road trip that the Capitals had hoped for, but the team finished it off with a bang! Welcoming one of the newest members of the Eastern Conference to Verizon Center on Saturday night, the Capitals beat the Blue Jackets 4-1 behind Martin Erat’s three assists and Braden Holtby’s 37 saves in what proved to be a night of “seconds” for the team.
After a scoreless first period, Blue Jackets winger Brandon Dubinsky was called for a tripping minor after pulling down Mike Green, putting the NHL’s most dangerous powerplay on the ice early and the boys in red did not disappoint and neither did Joel Ward, scoring his second of the season after missing two easy shots that would have been goals in Thursday’s game against the Rangers. Credit the assists to Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom, who’s pretty display of passing set up Ward’s goal. Then with 12:17 to go in the period, Brooks Laich (yes the Laichness Monster) put back a Steve Oleksy shot for his second of the season. Martin Erat’s secondary assist would be his first of three on the night.
In the third the Caps started to pull away. Troy Brouwer scored his second of the season, putting his own rebound behind Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, after receiving a pass from Martin Erat, his second assist of the night. Later on in the third after yet another Brandon Dubinsky penalty, The Great 8 Alex Ovechkin scores his 7th of the year from his usual circle spot all but icing the game for the home team. Dubinsky wasn’t done spending time in the Sin Bin however as he and Steve Oleksy went toe to toe after Dubinsky slashed Oleksy, which Steve didn’t take too kindly to.
The Blue Jackets would find the score sheet with just under five minutes left in the game as Artem Anisimov scored, yes you guessed it, his second of the season ending Braden Holtby’s shutout. Marion Gaborik was credited with the lone assist, his team leading eight point.
Both teams records’ stand at 3-5-0. Washington travels out west to former division rival Winnipeg to take on the Jets on Tuesday before traveling to Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver with two of the three being revenge games for the home team. Columbus began a four game homestand last night and ended its four game losing streak by beating Vancouver. New Jersey , Toronto, and Anaheim come to town on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday respectively.
OTHER GAME NOTES:
. John Erskine and Jay Beagle were both scratched from the lineup tonight, giving Aaron Volpatti his first ice time of the season. Volpatti played just over 8 minutes in the game and didn’t register a shot on goal. Nick Foligno, Dalton Prout, and Ryan Craig were all scratches for the visitors.
. Four players (including three Capitals) notched their second goals of the season tonight, truly making it a game of seconds.
. Winnipeg hosts the Capitals for the first time since joining the Western Conference. The Jets fell to Nashville on Sunday night and return home to face the Capitals on Tuesday before hosting both Nashville and Dallas later on in the week. Evander Kane leads the team in goals with 5 and is tied for first on the team (with Toby Einstrom and Dustin Byfuglien) for first on the team in points with 7 and is also the team’s leader in +/- with +3.