Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Washington Capitals

Photo by Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch/TNS/Sipa USA

Lack of a killer instinct dooms Capitals again

April 16, 2018 - 10:21 am
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By Chris Russell

The Capitals are once again fighting for their playoff lives (and future jobs) as they blew another two goal lead and lost again in overtime to the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-4 Sunday night at Capital One Arena.

Now it’s a 2-0 lead for the Jackets heading home and riding two-time Vezina Trophy winner, Sergei Bobrovsky. Better known as “BOB” – he may have rendered the Caps “DOA” heading to Ohio.

Bobrovsky allowed four goals and was still the star of the show making 54 saves for John Tortorella’s team.

“That is probably one of the best goaltending performances I’ve seen in quite a while, with Bob,” said Tortorella after his team’s victory.

The Caps peppered Bobrovsky with shot after shot (58 total) with 19 in the first period, 12 in the second and a blitz of 21 in the third. Washington also had six shots on Bobrovsky in overtime.

“You can tell BOB was just on his game,” Tortorella said.

Alex Ovechkin, who scored two power play goals, summed it up best: “We just blew it.”

What else led to another Caps crushing overtime loss? Here are the big three:  

1. Tom Wilson had another terrible penalty in the Caps offensive zone when he jumped into a pile and hog-tied one of the Blue Jackets players. It was an easy call to make and once again took one of the Caps best penalty killers off the ice. Just like in Game 1, it led to a power-play goal. The Jackets' Cam Atkinson scored his second goal of the game as the Caps penalty killers left him wide open on the weak-side of the ice and he beat Philipp Grubauer easily.

“Tom’s a bright young man, but it was unnecessary,” Caps head coach Barry Trotz said. Atkinson’s second goal of the game tied the score at 3-3.

2. It got worse for the Caps as they gave up another power play goal late in the second on a relatively easy shot (to save) from Zach Werenski. Devante Smith-Pelly took a holding the stick penalty and Grubauer was beaten high and glove-side again. It was the fifth goal allowed in the series by Grubauer in that area of the net. Grubauer was partially screened but admitted it was a bad goal to allow.

Trotz went to Braden Holtby for the third-period and is expected to go with Holtby on Tuesday. He would not commit on Sunday night however.

3. The Capitals blew a 2-0 lead for the second consecutive game, which is a sign of a team that gets a little too comfortable with breathing room. The Blue Jackets executed a perfect stretch pass up the middle of the ice from Nick Foligno to Atkinson. Dmitry Orlov could not recover, and Grubauer could not seal his skate to the post and the Jackets had life.

The Caps blew a 2-0 early lead in Game 3 at Toronto last year before losing. They had a 2-0 and 4-1 lead in Game 4 of that series before nearly blowing another game with a sizable cushion.

Washington must play with more killer instinct. Everyone knew they needed a third goal to really put Columbus on their heels. 

"Overtime" - Andre Burakovsky was hit hard on a check with just over five-minutes left in the first period and did not return. He’ll be evaluated with an upper body injury, according to Trotz.

Follow Chris Russell on Twitter. 

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