It looked like the Columbus Blue Jackets would escape the first period.
It's always dicey heading into an opponent's stadium to start the playoffs. With time dwindling down, Columbus had killed off two Capitals power plays, the score was tied at zero and Sergei Bobrovsky looked like he was gaining confidence against a team he has historically struggled against.
Mission accomplished? Not quite.
With 2:37 remaining in the first, Columbus dumped the puck into the offensive zone and Caps defensemen Michal Kempny went back to retrieve. Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson caught Kempny in the back sending him face-first into the boards. Kempny was down on the ice for several moments before making his way off the ice with the team's athletic trainer.
You can see a replay of the hit here:
Anderson made his way to the penalty box, but soon was escorted down the tunnel as he had been assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct. His night was over.
The penalty was a clear board. Rule 41 of the NHL rulebook is specifically dedicated to boarding. According to 41.1, "A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously."
When a player is struck in the back, he is considered defenseless. Clearly, that was the case here as Anderson struck Kempny in the back.
Rule 41.3 states a referee can assess a major penalty "based on the degree of violence of the impact with the boards."
Basically, the call is at the referee's discretion. If he chooses to call a major, that opens up the possibility for a game misconduct.
Rule 41.5 states a referee can assess a game misconduct for boarding "when a major penalty is imposed under this rule for a foul resulting in an injury to the face or head of an opponent."
The issue for Anderson is the fact that his hit sent Kempny's head into the glass causing the injury. That earned the Jackets winger a first period trip to the showers and gave the Capitals five minutes of power play time to work with.
Washington certainly took advantage. Well, Evgeny Kuznetsov did at least, with two goals on the power play.
Suddenly a 0-0 first period turned into a 2-0 Caps lead.