Game 4 lacked the intensity of the three before it Dorance Armstrong Jr. Color Rush Jersey , and no overtime heroics were necessary. Instead, the workmanlike Washington Capitals turned in their most complete game of the playoffs, putting away the Columbus Blue Jackets to tie their series at two games apiece.
Not that the Blue Jackets did themselves any favors in the 4-1 loss Thursday night. They came out flat, squandered an early power play, surrendered pucks in the neutral zone and couldn’t seem to get any traction until late in the game.
Columbus had overcome deficits to win the first two games in Washington. When the series shifted to Columbus on Tuesday, the Capitals prevailed on a lucky bounce in double-overtime.
Now the best-of-7 series moves back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday afternoon.
”All we’ve done is gotten on even terms,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said. ”We got ourselves in a hole, and we have to continue to push forward. The next game is a real pivotal game. Someone is going to take the lead in this series, and then your back is against the wall. We have to make sure we’re ready to go.”
Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and two assists for the Capitals, who made sure the game was never in doubt. Tom Wilson and Alexander Ovechkin each had a goal and an assist Rick Leonard Color Rush Jersey , and T.J. Oshie also tallied.
”We’ve been a confident group all year,” said Washington goalie Braden Holtby, who finished with 23 saves. ”I don’t think we’ve ever doubted ourselves. We came into this building with the right mindset.”
There was no comeback magic this time for the Blue Jackets, who couldn’t seem to shift out of neutral until coach John Tortorella started switching up the lines in the second period.
Boone Jenner scored for Columbus, and Sergei Bobrovsky had 29 saves.
”There’s no sense asking me things about the game,” a bewildered Tortorella told reporters. ”I’m telling you, we laid an egg, so I’m not going to break it down for you. We sucked. We sucked. Let’s move by it and see if we play better Saturday afternoon.”
Washington led 1-0 after the opening period. Just after Columbus’ Thomas Vanek knocked the puck out of the blue paint with his glove, Kuznetsov shoveled the carom from the right boards out to Wilson, who connected from above the circle at 6:16.
The Capitals got their second halfway through the second period on a power play when Oshie flicked in a rebound. Ovechkin beat Bobrovsky from the right circle early in the third period to give the Caps a three-goal lead.
A few minutes later Justus Annunen Blackhawks Jersey , Jenner redirected Josh Anderson’s slap shot to make it a 3-1 game and finally give the record Nationwide Arena crowd of 19,395 something to cheer about. Kuznetsov added an empty-net goal with 2:19 left in the game.
”They scored that goal to kind of sneak back in it a little bit, and we didn’t miss a beat,” Washington defenseman John Carlson said. ”Our next shift I think we dominated them, and maybe one or two after that one, too. Those are the kinds of things you need to do to win.”
Columbus captain Nick Foligno also couldn’t explain what happened to the Blue Jackets after they had showed so much juice in the first three games.
”We know we have to be way better,” he said. ”Maybe it gives us a little kick in the rear to know we have a real good opportunity in front of us to go back there. Home ice hasn’t been too nice to each team. We feel good about ourselves and the fact that we haven’t played our best hockey yet. We’ve got to find it.”
NOTES: When a best-of-7 series goes to 2-2, the winner of Game 5 wins 78.8 percent of the time, according to the NHL. … Washington F Andre Burakovsky missed a second game with an upper-body injury. It’s not clear if he will play in Game 5. … The Capitals have scored the first goal in all four playoff games. … Washington has seven power-play goals in the series. … Ovechkin has three goals and three assists in the four games.
Game 5 is Saturday in Washington.
With just a handful of games remaining for the Columbus Blue Jackets, coach John Tortorella believes the team is in a good place even as its late push to secure a playoff spot has gotten tougher.
With Nick Foligno out of the lineup http://www.packersauthorizedshops.com/a ... ing-jersey , the Blue Jackets open a three-game swing across western Canada on Tuesday night against NHL scoring leader Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers.
Columbus (42-29-5) is in third place in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Blue Jackets are also tied in points with the Philadelphia Flyers for the first wild card, and Columbus has a three-point edge on the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card.
“We have six left and we’ve got some nicks along the way here … you just go play. We don’t talk about it. We just do it. That’s part of our job,” Tortorella said Monday.
The Blue Jackets surged into contention thanks to 10-game winning streak that ended with a 2-1 loss to St. Louis Blues on Saturday. Foligno, who has collected 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in the last 30 games, suffered a lower-body injury and will be sidelined from two to four weeks.
But for Tortorella, it’s business as usual.
“I just don’t want us to lose our swagger,” he said. “I think we’re in a good spot. I think the guys are feeling good about themselves. You get banged up; you just go about your business. Nick has been very good for us, so we have to fill that hole.”
Brandon Dubinsky (15 points in 56 games) is expected to fill in for Foligno.
Columbus also still has Artemi Panarin http://www.giantsauthorizedshops.com/au ... ter-jersey , who leads the club in scoring (25 goals, 44 assists), and needs one point to reach 70 for the third straight season. The Russian winger has six goals and three assists in a four-game points streak on the road.
The Blue Jackets have won four straight away from home and seek their third victory in four games in Edmonton. Columbus is also looking for a split of the season series after a 7-2 loss on Dec. 12 in Ohio’s capital city.
To no one’s surprise, McDavid was the driving force in that rout, collecting a goal and three assists.
The Oilers captain solidified his hold as the league’s top scorer after collecting a goal and two assists in Sunday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks that eliminated Edmonton (34-36-6) from postseason consideration.
With six games to play, McDavid has 99 points — two from a career high, and three in front of Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
McDavid, who is looking to be the first player to win consecutive Art Ross trophies since Jaromir Jagr won four straight from 1998 to 2001 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, was named the league’s First Star of the Week after collecting five goals and five assists in four games last week.
The biggest difference in No. 97 this season compared with last season?
“I see him around the net a bit more. He wanted to do that this year. His sense of timing, arriving on rebounds Keon Broxton Milwaukee Brewers Jersey , having the ability to tap things in,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said recently.
Most likely, McDavid will try to pad his total against Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Since losing three straight starts in early February, the two-time Vezina Trophy winner is 12-4-1 with a 2.01 goals-against average and one shutout. Bobrovsky would also be looking for his fourth straight road win during that span.
Backup Joonas Korpisalo has won three straight starts, allowing a total of nine goals. He is 2-5-0 with a 4.15 GAA on the road in 2017-18.
Edmonton’s Cam Talbot needs one win to reach 30 for the second straight season. He has surrendered 14 goals in his last five games, posting a 4-0-1 record.
Al Montoya (2-2-2, 3.24 GAA with the Oilers) missed Sunday’s game with an undisclosed injury. If Montoya can’t go, Laurent Brossoit (3-7-1, 3.22 GAA) would back up Talbot.