The Capitals suffered a 2-1 overtime loss at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday and also lost Braden Holtby to an apparent eye injury midway through the second period. Columbus now pulls within four points of Washington in the standings for first place of the Metropolitan Division. Here are four reasons Washington fell on Saturday.
The first minute
Offense was hard to come by for much of the night, but not in the first minute. Cam Atkinson put the Blue Jackets ahead 1-0 with a breakaway goal exactly one minute into the contest.
The Caps were not caught out of position, just a bit flat-footed. When the Blue Jackets grabbed the puck in the defensive zone, Atkinson turned on the jets and made his way up the ice. Markus Nutivaara found him with the stretch pass.
Both Michal Kempny and John Carlson were back, but Atkinson was at full speed and able to split between both of them to spring his own breakaway and score.
Two injury scares
Alex Ovechkin left for the locker room late in the first period. It is unclear what exactly the issue was, but Ovechkin was limited to only 3:17 in the opening 20 minutes of the game.
Ovechkin did return for the start of the second, but it still cost Washington as he was not on the ice for a late first period penalty, denying Washington of its biggest power play weapon.
Braden Holtby left the game midway through the second period after receiving a high-stick from Atkinson, whose stick blade somehow managed to get through the bars of Holtby's mask. The mask popped off, and he immediately skated away dabbing at his eye.
After getting some attention from head athletic trainer Jason Serbus on the bench, Holtby left for the locker room, and Pheonix Copley came into the game.
Copley played very well in relief with 10 saves on 11 shots and even made a big save one-on-one against Lukas Sedlak, but when a team loses a player as significant as Holtby, it often has some sort of an impact, even if it is not seen on the scoresheet.
You like flow? Well, this game had pretty much none. The game was stop and go with frequent whistles and not a lot of momentum for either team.
The Caps technically racked up 11 shots on goal in the first period, but none were high-quality chances and all appeared to be easily turned aside by Columbus netminder Joonas Korpisalo. The offense really didn't begin clicking until late in the second period when Washington got the last seven shots on goal.
Evgeny Kuznetsov did manage to force overtime with a late goal, but this seemed like a game the Caps could have won had the offense been clicking from the start.
An overtime slash
After forcing ovetime, it certainly appeared the Caps had the momentum and were getting the best of the opportunities, but Nicklas Backstrom was called for a slash on Boone Jenner that flipped the momentum and gave Columbus the late power play. Artemi Panarin needed only 12 seconds to score the game-winner after that.
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