Friday night the Columbus Blue Jackets put their 4 game wining streak on the line against the offense-heavy Washington Capitals. In a twist that may only be seen in M. Night Shyamalan films, it was the Jackets that poured on the offense. The CBJ rode their special teams and outstanding goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky to a 5-1 blowout of the Caps.
It took some time for the Blue Jackets to settle in to the first period, as the Capitals controlled most of the first half of the frame.
Then at the 11:12 mark John Carlson took a tripping call into the box. Less than a minute later James Wisniewski scored his first power play goal of the season by firing a blast top corner past Capitals netminder Philipp Grubauer putting Columbus up 1-0. At that point momentum seemed to be on the side of the Jackets.
In the final minute of the first, a known problem area for the Blue Jackets, Cam Atkinson got a little dirty in front of the net. He out-worked the Washington defense in front and was able to bury a loose puck off a rebound to put the Jackets ahead 2-0 going into the 2nd.
Early in the 2nd period Ryan Johansen cashed in on a beautiful feed from RJ Umberger on a fast-break to make it 3-0 Jackets. This caused Adam Oates to pull Grubauer and replace him with Braden Holtby. They were pouring it on, but as is tradition, Columbus seemed to have a lull in the middle frame. The only blemish in an otherwise perfect game, came off the stick of Washington defenseman John Carlson, pulling the Caps within 2 in the 2nd. Arugably the moment of the night came when the Capitals number one power play was given several opportunities. During this time Alex Ovechkin was found all alone on Bobrovski down low. He deked several times and attempted to go high glove but Bobrovski got a piece of the puck and made a spectacular save on the league’s scoring leader. Later in the same power play the Jackets were whistled for too many men and gave the Caps 18 seconds of a 5 on 3. The penalty kill stood tall, not allowing a goal to the explosive power play of the Capitals.
In the third it was all Columbus. The Jackets entered the third with some remaining power play time from the previous period when Mike Green took a holding call late. The CBJ would make it count with some flair. Mark Letestu broke up the ice with the puck and fed Nathan Horton on the short boards and cut to the net. Horton fed a pass back to a streaking Letestu who fit the puck in a tight space just over the shoulder of Braden Holtby, who was in relief of Grubauer. It was a filthy goal, and sealed the victory for the Jackets. Atkinson added a second goal of the night later in the period to add some salt in the wound, and the Jackets won 5-1.
After previously having trouble with the Caps in Washington, the red-hot Jackets took care of business Friday night. They played a complete game and dominated on special teams. The Jackets were 2 of 4 on the power play, and 4 of 4 on penalty kills against the best power play in the NHL. During this now 5 game win streak, Bobrovsky appears to be back to Vezina-calibur play, and bailed the team out when needed. As of last night, the Anaheim Ducks lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, officially making the Blue Jackets the hottest team in the league right now, and they are gaining some serious ground in the Metropolitan Division. Hopefully they can keep it up! Complete team efforts like the one tonight will more than assure they stay hot. Next up is the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo, Saturday night at 6:30pm.
Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets