The Washington Capitals had never faced the Columbus Blue Jackets before Thursday night, but if you were worried that you might see some unfamiliar or uncharacteristic playoff hockey from the Caps, you can rest assured. Same old playoff Caps, losing multiple leads and then collapsing in overtime.
In the first period, the Caps turned a five-minute major penalty into two goals, each off the smoking stick of Evgeny Kuznetsov. Alex Wennberg caught a sharp pass from Boone Jenner to score in the second, and Tomas Vanek converted a power play early in the third to tie the game. Jakub Vrana set up Devante Smith-Pelly for a gorgeous goal to restore the Caps lead only to lose it with five minutes remaining when Seth Jones scored on a late power play. Tied at three goals, the Caps once more entered the hellish diarrheal hellzone known as playoff overtime.
Artemi Panarin won it.
Blue Jackets beat Capitals 4-3 in overtime. Columbus leads the series 1-0.
41.5 Game Misconduct Penalty – When a major penalty is imposed under this rule for a foul resulting in an injury to the face or head of an opponent, a game misconduct shall be imposed.
When someone says Brooks Orpik is good at clearing the crease, show them this GIF. pic.twitter.com/MTaQzfHSUv
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) April 13, 2018
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) April 12, 2018
That was about as brutal as a Game One gets. Three players didn’t finish the game (Wennberg and Kempny, each with upper-body injuries, plus the ejected Anderson). We won’t know until tomorrow at the earliest if any of three will return for Game Two, so for now, let’s take stock in what we’ve got.
If success depended on big performances from Caps forwards, you got it. Burakovsky, Vrana, Oshie, Backstrom, and Smith-Pelly all had big nights. Evgeny Kuznetsov had a coronation.
And yet, the Capitals did not have the toolset to close this game out competently. That’s not new. We’ve seen that all season; we just held out hopes that they wouldn’t be so careless in the postseason. Silly us for dreaming, right?
So now we enter into a three-day lull, to be filled for sure with pumped tires and posturing for Game Two. Maybe we’ll see John Tortorella, the stoic gentleman. Maybe we’ll see John Tortorella, who is mightily pissed at you for not giving him his steak well done like he freaking ordered it. And maybe we’ll see John Tortorella, the absolutely genuine axe murderer. I for one cannot wait.
Headline photo: Patrick McDermott
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