Washington Capitals (24-5-5) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (12-14-6)
|Predicted Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV% / # SO|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||15-2-4||2.78 / .910 / 0|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||Joonas Korpisalo||12-10-2||2.73 / .906 / 1|
The Washington Capitals lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets just one week ago at Capital One Arena. This time, the Caps’ are looking to rewrite that narrative, and give John Tortorella’s BJ’s a taste of their own medicine at Nationwide Arena. With this match-up being the second game of the Mentors Trip, we should note that the Capitals are 16-6-0 with mentors in tow, dating back to 2008. Washington was the first to reach the 50-point mark this 2019-20 season, and more impressively, leads the league in road wins with 15 (ESPN).
The Washington Capitals defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in a convincing 5-2 effort last Saturday night. A great start to the annual Fathers/Mentors Trip, as each of the Capitals’ four lines contributed to goal-scoring. As last reported, the Bolts have struggled to string together consecutive wins, and after having won their previous two matches, it was all but expected that they would drop this one versus the Caps. Once again, the Capitals penalty killing, and astounding goaltending from Ilya Samsonov won this one for Washington. Nicklas Backstrom scored the first goal of the game, giving Washington a 1-0 lead at the 6:42 mark of the first period. The Capitals would receive the games’ first power play at Jan Rutta went off for interference, but just about 30 seconds later, Nicklas Backstrom would be called for tripping, and play would resume as 4-on-4. The Lightning would then receive an abbreviated man-advantage, but would not convert. Rookie goaltender Samsonov made a number of too-close-for-comfort saves, including one that would require a number of reviews from officials. Steven Stamkos was called for a high-stick at the 17:12 mark of the first, but again Washington wouldn’t add to their lead. The second period saw four Lightning power plays, and thankfully, the Caps would kill off three of four. Michal Kempny was called for roughing just 92 seconds into the middle frame, and Nicklas Backstrom for delay of game less four minutes later. Tampa Bay’s first goal of the night was overturned for goaltender interference, but their second attempt, a power play goal, would stand. Brayden Point tallied his 12th goal of the season, tying this one at one goal each. Three minutes and 20 seconds after that penalty, Alex Ovechkin went off for tripping. TJ Oshie was then called for tripping with just over three minutes remaining in the second. The Bolts would not convert on either power play. The final frame saw five goals combined, four from the Caps and one from Tampa. Washington left their penalty kill woes in the second period, and less than two minutes into the third, Lars Eller would give the Caps’ their lead back. Just 45 seconds later, Garnet Hathaway would improve Washington’s lead by two. Jan Rutta would bring the Lightning back within one with his very first goal of the season at the 11:16 mark, and 63 seconds later, TJ Oshie scored his third goal in two games. Tom Wilson would seal this win with an empty net goal, his 12th of the year, at the 19:21 mark of the match. With the empty-net goal, Wilson has 69 career goals. Ilya Samsonov aced this test with flying colors, as he ended the night with 26 saves on 28 shots. Braden Holtby is slated to start for Washington against the Blue Jackets.
The Columbus Blue Jackets were last in action on Saturday as well, where they lost to the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in overtime (CBJ @ OTT). Like Tampa Bay, Columbus has also struggled to win consecutive games, and only the Buffalo Sabres have more overtime/shootout losses than the Blue Jackets. Anthony Duclair, who in fact played a season with Columbus, started off the scoring at the 2:16 mark of the period, with his 16th of the season. Cam Atkinson would tie the game at the 4:53 mark of the first. Duclair would score his 2nd of the game 10 minutes after his first. Connor Brown scored the only goal of the second period, adding to the Senators’ lead. Alexander Texier would score his 5th and 6th goal of season in the third period, tying the game with three goals each, and promising Columbus at least one point. The Blue Jackets received four opportunities with the man-advantage throughout this match, but their 18th ranked power play would not convert. Alexander Wennberg would go off for slashing during the overtime period, and 16 seconds later, Anthony Duclair would complete his first career hat-trick with his 18th goal of the season. The Blue Jackets are 3-5-2 in their last 10, and just 4-5-2 against the Metropolitan division (TheScore, Columbus Blue Jackets). Gustav Nyquist, who leads the team in points (19), has just two in his last eight games, and has not scored since he tallied his second career hat-trick against the Pittsburgh Penguins back on November 29th (HockeyReference). Ironically, his first hat-trick was back in 2014, against the Washington Capitals. Although Columbus out-shot the Senators 41 to 27, head coach John Tortorella would play both goaltenders after electing to put in Joonas Korpisalo in relief of Elvis Merzlikins, who allowed two goals on six shots (CBJ @ OTT). Korpisalo is expected to start for the Blue Jackets.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are missing eight players from their roster, three of which are, however, listed as day-to-day. See below for full details:
- C- Brandon Dubinsky (DL, wrist)
- D- Ryan Murray (DTD, upper body)
- RW- Josh Anderson (DTD, upper body)
- LW- Sonny Milano (DTD, upper body)
- RW- Kole Sherwood (DL, oblique)
- D- Zach Werenski (DL, shoulder)
- D- Markus Nutivaara (DL, upper body)
- RW- Emil Bemstrom (OUT, upper body)
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ESPN.com. (2019). 2019-20 NHL Standings. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nhl/standings/_/group/league.
HockeyReference. (2019). Gustav Nyquist Stats. Retrieved from https://www.hockey-reference.com/players/n/nyquigu01.html.
TheScore. (2019). Columbus Blue Jackets @ Ottawa Senators. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/22227.
TheScore. (2019). Columbus Blue Jackets News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/17.