Ovechkin’s big night beats CBJ in Bobrovksy’s return
Alexander Ovechkin scored two goals tonight to help propel the Washington Capitals passed the Blue Jackets, 5-3.
In a very physical game, Ovechkin scored his first goal three and a half minutes into the game, beating Sergei Bobrovsky with a deflection on Brooks Orpik’s shot. Eric Fehr followed Ovechkin with his 18th goal of the season giving the Capitals a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.
David Savard was able to inch the Jackets closer with a slapshot goal, albeit momentarily. Tom Wilson answered for the Capitals 48 seconds later and pushed the Capitals lead back to two.
“It’s something we’re aware of, but it’s not something that we sit here and talk about all of the time,” Jack Johnson said regarding the quick response goals. “Stuff like that is stuff you’ve been hearing since you were young. ‘Shift after a goal, big shift, don’t let the other team get back into it,’ and that’s something you’ve been hearing for years. That’s not just new to the NHL.
“We’re aware of it. We try not to make it something that’s really on the forefront of your head because you don’t want to be gripping your sticks, you still want to go out and play hockey. But everyone is aware of it.”
The Jackets would pull to within a goal again as Scott Hartnell scored at the end of the second period, and again in the third period, but it wasn’t enough for the Jackets. Ovechkin scored his 43rd goal of the season at the beginning of the third period and Marcus Johansson scored an empty net goal to give the Capitals a 5-3 win. Ovechkin now has a commanding five goal lead over Rick Nash for the league lead in goals scored.
Bobrovsky made his return in net for the Jackets after missing 17 games with a groin injury. He was peppered with shots early, facing 16 in the first period. In all, Bobrovsky faced 32 and stopped 28 of them. He looked decent in his return, but a little rusty at the beginning of the game.
“He looked fine,” Todd Richards said on Bobrovsky. “His quickness and movement, he looked fine. He looked normal to me.”
The Jackets battled the Capitals and were very physical with them through the entire game. The Jackets had 25 hits and there were four fights between the two teams. Dalton Prout and former Jacket Jason Chimera traded punches on two separate occasions, but Jared Boll’s fight with Tom Wilson in the second period seemed to give the Jackets some life.
“That’s what we talked about before the game, is to have some emotion, have some energy,” Hartnell said. “A big hit like that, followed up with a fight against a big boy like that, everyone was fired up, it got the crowd into it. It seemed like we played with an extra step after that.”
“I think it was self provoked,” Prout said. “I think we didn’t have the start that we wanted to and the way you want to be remembered as a team going down the stretch here is pride, integrity, and show that in your actions in the way you play. Sometimes it’s not the execution, but the willingness to show an effort every night and I think we didn’t bring that for parts of the first period, so that was a little bit of frustration, a little bit of pushback, and at the beginning of the second, that led to some chippiness.”
With the loss, the Jackets still remain 13 points above the Buffalo Sabers for last place in the league; however, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Florida Panthers tonight, which vaults them ahead of the Jackets and pushes them down to fifth to last place.
“We’re trying to win games,” Hartnell said. “Guys are playing for spots. Guys are playing for ice time. You’re playing for yourselves. But ultimately, you don’t want to be the laughing stock of the league, and with an effort like tonight, we’re going to be battling for points and games and we need more of that.”
The Jackets return to the ice Friday night in New Jersey to face the Devils looking to break their seven game losing streak.
-David Clarkson left tonight’s game after sustaining an upper body injury. Richards did not have an update on Clarkson after the game.