Jackets looks for measure of revenge vs. Caps
WASHINGTON — The Columbus Blue Jackets will visit the Capitals Friday for the teams’ first meeting since their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series last Spring.
The Capitals dropped the first two games at home before winning four straight. Games 3, 4 and 6 were played in Columbus and Washington closed out the series with a 6-3 win at Columbus.
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella hasn’t gotten over his team’s failures on their own ice.
“I’m (ticked) off for our fans,” he said told the team’s website. “We had a few opportunities to win a home game in the playoffs and I’m (ticked) off they can’t enjoy that, even later in the series.
“We go up 2-0, Game 3 we played really well, we couldn’t find a way to win it. Game 4 (a 4-1 loss) is the one that disturbs me. … To not to win a home game, that bugs me, because I want our players to feel that.”
Washington (7-4-3) went on to win the Stanley Cup and has won two straight games for the first time this season while Columbus (8-6-1) is 4-2-1 on the road.
The Capitals are coming off a stirring 2-1 win over the rival Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night. T.J. Oshie, who twice left the game due to injury, returned to score the game winner with 1:14 remaining in the third period.
Oshie’s eighth goal of the season came after an accidental high stick in the first period left him with two stitches and an illegal hit by Evgeni Malkin in the third period almost put him out for good.
“He came back right on time,” Nicklas Backstrom said. “That’s what elite players do; they come back. They score the game-winner.”
Alex Ovechkin scored his 12th goal of the season and goaltender Braden Holtby made 41 saves to end a personal three-game losing streak (0-2-1).
Thanks to Holtby, the Capitals won on a night they were outplayed by the Penguins and outshot 42-22.
“That’s one thing that we’ve been battling this year and we kind of knew it was one of the things that was going to be a challenge for us, making sure that drive and motivation is up in the start of the season when the playoffs are so far away because these points mean a ton right now,” Holtby said. “We’re getting closer. We’re recognizing it more and more.”
Artemi Panarin leads the Blue Jackets in assists (11) and points (16) while Josh Anderson leads the way with seven goals.
“(Anderson) could be a very important part of this team if he just keeps on concentrating each and every game,” Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch. “It’s something we look for. He sometimes forgets and gets a little inconsistent. We’re going to keep on reminding him, because he’s playing on the power play now, he’s killing penalties and it’s rightfully deserved.”
Bobrovsky is 7-10-4 with a 3.02 goals-against average and .900 save percentage against the Capitals. Holtby is 14-4-2 with a 2.62 GAA and .914 save percentage versus the Blue Jackets.
Ovechkin has 16 goals and six assists in 30 games against the Blue Jackets while Backstrom has 24 points in 29 games.