Saturday’s game between the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets featured a number of high-profile NHL stars. In a battle for first place in the Metropolitan Division, you would expect Alex Ovechkin, Artemi Panarin, Braden Holtby or Sergei Bobrovsky to be the heroes.
While Ovechkin did score and Holtby recorded a shutout in a 4-0 win over Columbus, it was Washington’s fourth line that stole the show as Dmitrij Jaskin and Travis Boyd each scored their first goals as Capitals.
While playing well this season, Jaskin has struggled finishing offensive chances. This is a player with 25 career NHL goals and who scored 13 goals in a single season in 2014-15. And yet, coming into Saturday’s game, Jaskin had yet to score a goal in 22 appearances with the Caps. The way he finally got into the net was by doing the same things he’s been doing effectively all season.
One of Jaskin’s best attributes is that he always goes to the net when he’s in the offensive zone. Boyd had the puck high in the zone and drew both Blue Jacket defensemen to him. Jaskin, as always, was headed to the front of the net and got in behind Columbus’ overly aggressive defense. Boyd looked for him on the pass, but it hit off of Jaskin’s skate and went directly into the top shelf behind a shocked Bobrovsky.
“I’ll take it,” Jaskin said. “Even if it was off the skate, I’ll take it any day.”
Boyd had an even more memorable night as he scored not only his first goal as a Cap, but the first goal of his NHL career.
Alex Ovechkin pounced on a loose puck in the neutral zone launching a two-on-one with Boyd. Ovechkin looked ready to wrist it, but instead passed it to Boyd who had plenty of net to shoot on as Jonas Korpisalo, who came on in relief of Bobrovsky after the first period, of course expected Ovechkin to shoot.
It was a nice moment not just for Boyd to get his first goal, but for it to come off the stick of Ovechkin who Boyd gave an assist to last season for his first NHL point.
“Pretty cool how it worked out for me having my first assist be on an Ovi goal and he feeds me a beautiful pass,” Boyd said. “Had a wide-open net for my first goal so pretty cool.”
It was truly a night of firsts for Washington with Jaskin’s first goal, Boyd’s first goal and the Caps walking away still in first place of the division.
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