May 20, 2022

Washington Capitals Game 65 Recap: Caps win penalty-filled game in Columbus

In an absolute mess of a game, the Washington Capitals proved –yet again — that the best way to counter a team trying to thug it up is to score on them on the resulting power play.

Alex Ovechkin scored twice — including a power play goal in the third period that eventually became the game-winner — and the Caps knocked off the also-ran Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 on Tuesday night in Columbus.

The Caps (35-20-10) treated Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky rudely early on in his return to action after missing 15 games with a  groin injury. After a sloppy play in the neutral zone by Brooks Orpik, Nick Backstrom corralled a loose puck near the Columbus blue line and established and maintained possession along the left wing boards in the Blue Jackets zone.

Backstrom eventually dropped a puck to Orpik at the point, and the veteran defenseman let loose a low laser into the slot, where Alex Ovechkin deftly redirected past Bobrovsky just 3:37 into the contest. It was Ovechkin’s league-leading 42nd goal of the season.

The Caps kept the pressure on Bobrovsky he entire period as the Caps had nine of the first 10 shots of the game.

Another good o-zone possession resulted in another tally. This time, it was the nominal third line of Eric Fehr, Jason Chimera and Joel Ward winning a defensive zone draw, carrying the puck into Columbus territory to set up, and Chimera finding Tim Gleason at the left point open.

The new Caps d-man fired into Bobrovsky, who could not handle the rebound, and Eric Fehr calmly cashed in the change for his 18th goal of the campaign.

The second period saw as many fights as goals as things got chippy. Troy Brouwer got into it with Cody Goloubef in the undercard. But Columbus’ resident thug Jared Boll hit Michael Latta high and from behind, prompting Tom Wilson to step in for his roommate. Boll received a charging and fighting, Wilson an instigator and fighting — and a 10 minute misconduct.

Latta went to the room to be evaluated and did not return to the game.

Later in the period, Jason Chimera took exception with a hit from Dalton Prout, and in the ensuing scrum, the Jackets’ David Clarkson was handed a misconduct.

All this sort of obscured the three goals that were scored. Columbus got goals from David Savard and Scott Hartnell, while Wilson banged home a rebound of a Chimera shot for his fourth of the season.

The penalties kept coming in the third, but so did the goals. With Chimera and Prout already in the box for fighting, Hartnell slashed Eric Fehr at center ice. The two came together, and Hartnell was issued an extra roughing, giving the Caps a power play.

They took advantage of it, as Ovechkin’s second of the game came from Backstrom and John Carlson to make it 4-2. Columbus got within one on Hartnell’s second of the game, a power play marker with Brouwer in the box for a bad retaliatory slash.

The drama wasn’t over, though. The Caps first line got pinned in their own end, eventually to ice the puck. Marcus Johansson tried to show the refs his stick was broken but they’d have no part of it and when Johansson broke it in front of them, he was whistled for delay of game with 2:16 to go.

The Caps killed the ensuing power play though, and Joel Ward found Johansson coming out of the penalty box for Johansson’s 16th of the season, an empty net goal. Ward got the assist in his 500th NHL game.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP


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