If there’s anything the Washington Capitals are consistent about this season, it’s that they’re inconsistent. After winning two straight games, the Capitals headed to Columbus, the fourth stop on their five game road trip, but lost 5-2 to the streaking Blue Jackets.
With New Jersey’s overtime win over Dallas, the Caps fall behind Columbus and the Devils, sliding into seventh in the underwhelming Metropolitan Division and 13th in the Conference.
Braden Holtby got his third straight start but was done in by missed defensive assignments and poor defensive coverage in the Caps’ zone.
The Blue Jackets scored fast and early, and the Caps were down 4-0 after forty minutes. The Caps dug a deeper hole with ill-timed penalties, several fights and overall sloppy play at even strength and the man advantage. Killing penalties was just about the only thing the Capitals did correctly. Columbus had seven power plays, but the Caps killed off every one.
Mike Green left the game in the first period after a hit by Columbus’ Boone Jenner that slammed his head and neck awkwardly into the boards. If Green is out for an extended period of time, that could spell disaster for the Caps, who are already thin on defense and can’t afford to be without one of their top four defensemen.
Eric Fehr and Joel Ward spoiled Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovksy’s shutout, and a comeback wasn’t completely out of the realm of possibility for the Capitals until Columbus notched their fifth goal.
The Capitals finish off their roadtrip Friday in Detroit before a four-game homestand heading into the Olympic break.