We all knew the Columbus Blue Jackets’ win streak had to come to an end, and boy are we glad the Capitals were the ones to cut it off at 16 games, especially with an incredible shut out from Braden Holtby.
The first period held the kind of power that we all knew the Capitals possessed. It started off a little shaky, needing more shots and energy. Then, all of sudden, the Caps woke up. Stickhandling was on fire, passes were perfect, and it didn’t take long for Daniel Winnik to get the first goal, five minutes in. Fans got a tad nervous as Evgeny Kuznetsov got called for a holding penalty, fearful that these refs would continue their recent habit of screwing the Caps over. The penalty kill was perfect, though, as usual. Holtby continued to make incredible saves and soon enough, John Carlson got us another goal, six minutes later. For the rest of the period, the Capitals were defending well, taking shots, and getting aggressive, until they went to first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
And the goals just kept coming in the second period. They started off with a lot of energy and a lot of speed. Of course, we can’t go one period without a terrible call from the refs. This time, it was a ridiculous holding call on Wilson, who was really just called for being stronger than a player who thought he could go up against him. Luckily for us, though, our PK could practically be considered a PP. The highlight of the second period, for me, however, was Nate Schmidt, getting his first goal since January 7, 2016. A while later, Nick Foligno and Karl Alzner went to the box, both for roughing. The Caps just kept shooting, Josh Anderson got a tripping penalty, and soon enough, Andre Burakovsky got us another goal. The second period was finished with an interference penalty from Jack Johnson, that would transfer into the third.
Speaking of goalies, the Blue Jackets pulled Sergei Bobrovsky after Justin Williams scored five minutes in, sending in Curtis McElhinney. This period wasn’t void of penalties, though. Early on, Brooks Orpik was called for hooking, then it was Matt Niskanen for high sticking. Next up was tripping from David Savard, then a ridiculous slashing call on T.J. Oshie. It all ended with Sam Gagner being called for tripping.
Photos by Mel Abernethy