In Game Two, the Caps scored first, dominated play during even strength, and got goals from their best player. But they committed bad penalties, they couldn’t beat the opposing goalie, their own backstop was woefully subpar, and they blew multiple leads. It was another classic Washington Capitals playoff game, and it was another excruciating loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Caps took an early lead with a Jay Beagle tip-in goal and then doubled down with Alex Ovechkin recording one on the power play. Cam Atkinson got a jailbreak pass to make it 2-1 heading into the second period, where Alex Ovechkin recorded yet another power-play goal, but hold up right there. The Blue Jackets scored three second-period goals (Anderson, Atkinson, Werenski) to erase the Caps’ lead and take one of their own heading into the third.
Braden Holtby relieved Philipp Grubauer for the final frame of regulation. The Caps put up a mighty and desperate effort to come back, but it took a gift of many late power plays and one nifty shot from TJ Oshie for them to tie it late. The inspirational comeback was all for naught. Matt Calvert won it in overtime.
Blue Jackets beat Caps 5-4. Blue Jackets lead the series 2-0.
Screw the stretcher, Steve Barton is skating off on one leg with some help. pic.twitter.com/XGKOYaWUZm
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) April 16, 2018
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) April 15, 2018
The Caps blew it. I don’t have a nice or elegant way to put it. Barry Trotz hamstrung his team with an inferior lineup. Brooks Orpik got caught out of position, then got out-muscled in the slot again. Tom Wilson committed a careless penalty. And Philipp Grubauer was just plain bad.
Holtby was fine in relief, Oshie was clutch, and Ovechkin was tremendous, but this was still a hideous failure, which puts it in good company among other famous Washington postseason flameouts.
Now we head to Columbus. Coming back from a two-game deficit is a longshot. Maybe a one-in-ten chance. I’m not sure what to do with that information, but holding out hope like I did on Sunday night seems like an unwise and unhealthy decision.
Headline photo: Rob Carr
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