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4 reasons the Caps lost to the Blue Jackets

4 reasons the Caps lost to the Blue Jackets

CAPITAL ONE ARENA – Meeting for the first time since their playoff matchup and locked in a goalie duel, the Washington Capitals blinked first in the third period Friday and fell 2-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Here are four reasons the Caps lost:

The Bob

The Caps defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday despite being largely outplayed by the Penguins because of a stellar effort in net by Braden Holtby. On Friday, Washington found itself on the wrong end of a hot goalie as they could not seem to figure out the reigning Vezina winner Sergey Bobrovsky.

Despite a dominant first period effort in which the Caps fired 15 shots on goal, they came away with nothing on the scoreboard as Bobrovsky turned all 15 shots aside.

Washington was at its best in that opening frame. The fact that Bobrovsky was able to stand tall was the biggest reason the Caps walked away with the loss.

For the night, Washington managed to get 34 shots on goal, but only one past Bobrovsky.

A first-period penalty                                                                                                                 

Washington came out with a dominant effort in the first period in which they had 30 shot attempts to Columbus’ 16 and also outshot the Blue Jackets 15-9. So of the Caps trailed 1-0 by the end of the first.

Wait, what?

Bobrovsky was brilliant in the first period, but a bad penalty from the Caps spoiled what was a strong period for Washington. Evgeny Kuznetsov held up Brandon Dubinsky when he was on the forecheck against Jonas Siegenthaler. A Columbus power play that entered Friday’s game as the worst in the NHL (11.9-percent) scored on its first opportunity. Nick Foligno drew in all four of the Caps’ penalty killers and delivered a backhanded, no-look pass through the legs to a wide open Oliver Bjorkstrand who had plenty of ice to work with and plenty of net to shoot on.

A third-period penalty

The Caps and Blue Jackets found themselves in a 1-1 draw entering the third period and the Caps blinked first as Dmitry Orlov took a roughing penalty against Boone Jenner. Columbus cashed in when a pass from Artemi Panarin bounced off the backboards and out to Anthony Duclair who fired it into the net despite shooting from no angle.

Did I mention the Blue Jackets have the worst power play in the league?

Despite their troubles with the extra man, Columbus’ power play still got the better of Washington’s 25th ranked penalty kill with two goals on three opportunities.

Two missed opportunities on the power play late in the third period

Columbus looked poised to suffocate Washington’s offense for the remainder of the third and take home the 2-1 win until Pierre-Luc Dubois was caught holding the stick of Michal Kempny with just seven minutes remaining in the game. David Savard was also caught hooking Jakub Vrana with 43 seconds left on the board.

Putting the league’s best power play on the ice in a one-goal game twice is not an ideal situation, but the Caps failed to produce when they needed it most. Washington could not pierce Bobrovsky on either opportunity and had to settle for only one goal on the night.

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Braden Holtby sets franchise record for shutouts in blowout simulation win over Panthers

Braden Holtby sets franchise record for shutouts in blowout simulation win over Panthers

The Capitals got plenty of offense in the latest NHL 20 simulation, but they didn't need it as Braden Holtby turned aside 36 shots to become the team's all-time shutout leader in a  5-0 blowout of the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Result: Caps 5, Panthers 0

1st period

1-0 Caps goal: Evgeny Kuznetsov from Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson

2nd period

2-0 Caps goal: Nicklas Backstrom from Nick Jensen and T.J. Oshie

3-0 Caps goal (power play): Jakub Vrana from T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom

https://twitter.com/NBCSCapitals/status/1246580242438815745?s=20               

3rd period

4-0 Caps goal: Brenden Dillon from Evgeny Kuznetsov

5-0 Caps goal: Tom Wilson from Alex Ovechkin and Brenden Dillon

How the Caps won

1. Fast start

What kind of a game was this going to be? We found in just 61 seconds as Kuznetsov wasted no time to get the Caps the lead. Washington would lead the rest of the way.

Carlson charged the blue line to keep a loose puck from getting out of the zone. He passed it up to Ovechkin who made a quick backhand pass to Kuznetsov in the slot to score the goal.

2. Possession

Florida somehow recorded 36 shots on goal, but did they ever really have possession of the puck in this game? It didn't feel like it. The Panthers had trouble defending against the Caps' offense as they struggled to keep the puck out of the defensive zone and struggled to get it out once it got there.

Florida also had no answer for Washington's physicality. The Caps threw their bodies around all game long to separate the Panthers from the puck and Florida just took it.

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3. A long-awaited shutout

It's been a long time coming. Holtby had not recorded a shutout all season long and finally got one in the final game of the regular season with 36 saves. The shutout is the 36th of Holtby's career, which gives Holtby the most in franchise history, moving him one ahead of Olie Kolzig. Or it would have of course if it was not a simulation.

In the few opportunities in which Florida did manage to keep the puck long enough to set up its offense, Holtby was there and gave the Panthers no daylight with which to shoot on. 

Next game

This was the final game of the regular season. Check back with NBC Sports Washington for a simulated playoff.

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Washington Capitals Tom Wilson sends Make-A-Wish kids heartfelt message and gifts

Washington Capitals Tom Wilson sends Make-A-Wish kids heartfelt message and gifts

Washington Capitals right-winger, Tom Wilson is utilizing his newfound free time by giving back to the children of Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic.

Saturday, Wilson was featured on the charity's Instagram page delivering an uplifting message to the kids that are going through unforeseen changes due to quarantine. 

"I understand a lot of your wishes are on hold right now due to this very weird time in the world," Wilson said. "I just want to let you know I'm thinking of you."

"You guys are so strong, keep fighting and I'm looking forward to seeing you around."

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It’s FR🏒DAY! And what better way to start your weekend than hearing from our @capitals friend, @tomwilson! Just like all of us, Tom is thinking of our local wish kids whose wishes are currently indefinitely on hold and knows how strong and awesome each of you are. 💪 He's cheering on every one of our wish kids during this challenging time and can’t wait to see your wishes come true. Tom also went above and beyond and bought activities for us to send all our kids whose #WishesAreWaiting to pass the time at home or in hospital. Thanks for sharing your Message of Hope Tom, and for being a such a great champion for wishes and a winner on and off the ice! 💫💙🏆 @capitalspr

A post shared by Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic (@wishmidatlantic) on

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Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic detailed that "Tom also went above and beyond and brought activities for us to send all our kids whose #WishesAreWaiting to pass time at home or in the hospital."

A class act gesture from an even classier man. 

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