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 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.
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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