CAPITAL ONE ARENA — Braden Holtby left the Capitals’ 2-1 overtime loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday after taking a stick to the eye in the second period. 

Holtby will be re-evaluated Sunday, according to coach Todd Reirden. He originally expected to come back after the two-minute power play for the high-sticking penalty given to Columbus forward Cam Atkinson. But after consultation with team trainers and doctors the Caps decided to keep Holtby out the rest of the game.  

"Very concerned,” Reirden said. “Saw the play initially from the bench, then was able to see the replay of it. Our initial discussions with our trainer and doctors, that's a serious thing. He wasn't able to return to the game, and we'll get some more evaluation tonight and know a little bit more [Sunday] and have a better update for you guys then."

Holtby had stopped 10 of 11 shots on goal when Atkinson’s stick came up during a collision in the crease. Holtby’s mask was ripped off, and he immediately put his hand over his right eye. That gave Washington a power play at 8:43 of the second period. Backup goalie Pheonix Copley played the final 31:17 of regulation.  

“It is scary to see that, especially as a goalie (because) you’re not really expecting it because you have the full cage on,” Copley said. “I just hope for the best that everything is ok.”


Copley stopped 10 of 11 shots himself before Artemi Panarin beat him with a wrister in overtime. But he kept the score 1-0 and gave the Caps a chance to tie the game. Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal with 1:06 to go during a 6-on-5 advantage sent it to overtime.

Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin missed the final eight minutes of the first period, including a shift where Washington played 16 seconds with just four men on the ice. Ovechkin had a cut on his hand and left for stitches. But he returned for the start of the second period and he still played 21:16 and had an assist on Kuznetsov’s game-tying goal.