The Washington Capitals scored three goals in the third and pulled away from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 4-1 win, clinching the Presidents’ Trophy on home ice.
John Carlson made his impact in the lineup felt again on the first Caps’ goal. He hammered a shot that caromed off Sergei Bobrovsky right to a waiting Justin Williams for the goal. Minutes later, Cam Atkinson made Dmitry Orlov pay for a defensive zone turnover to tie the game heading into the first intermission.
The second period was uninspiring with 11 total shots on goal between the two teams. The high-flying offensive juggernaut we grew used to in D.C. remained missing and the Jackets hung around. Each team had a power play opportunity and each were equally garbage-like. Nicklas Backstrom continued to look like a shell of his former self on the half wall.
The Caps wasted another power play in the third but then the grinders took care of business when Tom Wilson cashed in on a rebound off the cycle to give the Caps a 2-1 lead. The Caps began to pull away in shot attempts, scoring chances and shots on goal in the third and locked down every inch of the ice.
Finally, Backstrom made a sweet pass to Matt Niskanen who’s shot was tipped by TJ Oshie for a power play tally. Backstrom put the finishing touches on this one with an empty netter.
- Orlov saw limited ice time after that turnover, the latest in a series of gaffes he’s had in his own end of late. He has tremendous wheels and puck skills, but he needs to clean up the mistakes ASAP or he may not get to show them off in the playoffs.
- It was nice to see Carlson and Brooks Orpik get some shifts together. I still think that’s their ideal top pair.
- Another strong performance by Braden Holtby tonight, stopping 21/22 shots. His teammates kept most of them to the outside and made it easy for him.
For the the two periods the Caps were suckered into low-event, coin flip, John Tortorella hockey. The Blue Jackets, perhaps the worst team in the NHL, managed to make a game out of it. The Old Caps showed up in the third, though and completely dominated the final frame.
The final shot totals looked like a Blue Jackets-Capitals game should – 39-22 in favor of the home team.