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Blue Jackets clip Capitals in OT on Artemi Panarin’s power-play goal

Of the entire instances for middle Evgeny Kuznetsov’s function drought to finish, seconds earlier than the general minute of law, when the Washington Capitals have been determined and trailing via a function, was once a sexy just right one. He had long gone 17 video games and not using a function, and on Friday, his common supervisor subtly known as out his younger celebrity middle for now not at all times enjoying to his attainable.

“He might be probably the most perfect gamers within the league if he selected to be,” Brian MacLellan mentioned.

MacLellan added that Kuznetsov’s recreation turns out to ramp up when the instant does, so it was once becoming that when middle Nicklas Backstrom received an offensive-zone draw that Kuznetsov rose to the instance, scoring when Washington had its goaltender at the bench for an additional attacker.

Forcing additional time ensured the Capitals no less than one standings level, however the Columbus Blue Jackets were given the second after Artemi Panarin scored on an influence play for a 2-1 win.

This recreation could be remembered as a lot for who needed to depart the ice as the rest that took place on it. Captain Alex Ovechkin ignored the closing 8 mins of the primary length being evaluated for an undisclosed damage within the locker room, then goaltender Braden Holtby was once clipped within the eye via a prime stick, compelled to go away the sport.

Whilst Ovechkin in the end returned, Holtby didn’t. Backup Pheonix Copley changed him in internet, and Holtby’s standing going ahead is unclear. Copley made 10 saves, beat at the handiest shot the Blue Jackets had in additional time.

After Washington had a Four-Zero shutout in opposition to Columbus within the groups’ closing assembly a month in the past, the Blue Jackets were given at the board only a minute into the sport, when winger Cam Atkinson beat Holtby on a breakaway. That function stood because the lone one for almost all of a lifeless, low-intensity recreation that had an exhilarating end.

The Capitals gave the impression not able to get right into a drift with such a lot of stoppages, and each time the Capitals gave the look to be heating up at the ice, they’d lose a notable member of the group. Ovechkin skated his closing shift of the primary length with eight:16 left in it, within the locker room for analysis. Ovechkin has been impressively sturdy right through his profession, by no means lacking greater than 10 video games in a season, so the sight of a Washington continual play with out him on it on the finish of the primary length was once jarring.

The league-leader with 32 targets, Ovechkin returned for the second one length, it sounds as if no worse for put on after the damage scare. He’s performed in 208 directly video games together with Saturday’s.

Then eight:43 into the second one length, Atkinson inadvertently wedged the blade of his stick into Holtby’s masks, inflicting the latter to fling his masks off in obvious misery. Together with his left eye impaired, Holtby walked down the tunnel to the locker room as Copley took his position in internet for the remainder of the sport.

In the meantime, Columbus’s Joonas Korpisalo was once awarded this get started after some drama within the Blue Jackets’ locker room this week. Best Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was once benched via the group closing recreation for an undisclosed incident, and Trainer John Tortorella mentioned Korpisalo were given the beginning Saturday as a result of he had performed smartly and deserved it. He had a had became away all 20 of the Capitals’ pictures via two sessions, and within the 1/3 body, and he had racked up 31 saves earlier than Kuznetsov tied the sport.

In a wide-ranging interview with journalists on Friday afternoon, MacLellan mentioned he has observed extra indicators of the cliched “Stanley Cup hangover” at this juncture of the season than he did initially of it. A sleepy first 40 mins on Saturday was once a just right instance of that.

“I feel we’ve had a little bit bit extra of a lull in recent years, but it surely’s now not as unhealthy as you may’ve concept it might be,” MacLellan mentioned.

The excellent news for the Capitals is they’ve constructed up a small cushion within the Metropolitan Department, nonetheless in first position after Saturday’s outcome, however the image has grow to be much more cluttered. The highest 3 groups in Washington, Pittsburgh and Columbus entered Saturday’s slate of video games separated via simply 5 issues. Extra necessary for the Capitals is that if their lineup were given out of the sport wholesome.

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