WASHINGTON -- The Capitals saw their six-game winning streak snapped on Monday in a 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, their first game at Capital One Arena since Nov. 29.
After sweeping a four-game road trip, the Caps could not keep up that momentum at home as they lost to a Columbus team that had lost its last four, all in regulation. The loss drops Washington's record at home to 8-3-4.
Here is how the Caps lost.
An early deflection
Columbus set the tone for this one early. Less than four minutes into the game, Cam Atkinson gave the Blue Jackets the 1-0 lead with a deflection goal.
Gustav Nyquist took a pass at the half wall and saw Atkinson in the slot engaged with Garnet Hathaway. Atkinson was able to get his stick down and Nyquist snapped the pass to him. It deflected off his stick and hit the corner of the net beating the glove of Braden Holtby.
A rough start
Beyond the goal, the start to this game was an ugly one for Washington. They were thoroughly dominated through the first 20 minutes and were outshot badly to the tune of 20-6.
It wasn't just bad, it was confusing.
Columbus earned an early power play when Michal Kempny held the puck in the corner and basically shot it on his own net. It looked like he was trying to pass it cross-ice, but it went right on goal where an alert Holtby got a pad to it. He then had to trip a charging Pierre-Luc Dubois out of desperation.
Later in the first, Nyquist had a breakaway opportunity which was set up by a nice pass from...Jakub Vrana? Vrana was off-target with his pass and Nyquist was off to the races. Holtby was there to deny the breakaway. Holtby was about the only bright spot for Washington in the first. Columbus could have easily put up 2, 3 or even 4 goals in the opening frame, but Holtby denied 19 of the 20 shots he faced just to keep the Caps in it.
A tough shift for Jensen
Nick Jensen went to retrieve the puck behind the goal line and was feeling pressure from Alex Wennberg. He tapped the puck along the boards to Dmitry Orlov who passed it back to Jensen. He needed to send that puck around the boards. He took the pass on his backhand, but as he tried to go forehand, he was hit by Wennberg who physically pushed him off the puck and pinned up to the boards. That allowed Eric Robinson to collect the puck and feed Ryan Murray who had split the defense and was ready to fire the puck past Holtby.
2 nice exclamation points
As the Caps tried to rally in the third period, Alex Ovechkin pulled them to within one less than a minute in. The rally was cut short thanks to two nice third period tallies that put the game out of reach. Riley Nash fired a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that Holtby turned aside into the corner. He chased down his own rebound and won the board battle to free himself below the goal line. As he approached Holtby he saw some daylight between the netminder and post and fired it off Holtby and into the net.
Less than four minutes later, Oliber Bjorkstrand deflected a pass from Sonny Milano out of midair past Holtby to extend Columbus' lead to 4-1.
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