In a 5-4 win at Capital One Arena Sunday night, the Blue Jackets scored a game-winning goal in overtime and took control of home-ice advantage in the series against the Capitals, the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs. That Columbus is drawing penalties and the Capitals are showing a lack of discipline isn't odd - the Blue Jackets' penalty differential (plus-11) ranked 11th during the regular season, while the Capitals ranked 28th (minus-34) - but there is another, bigger problem for Washington: The Capitals aren't getting almost enough production at even strength from their star players. They've lost so many playoff games in so many heartbreaking ways that it's hard to imagine finding a new one. He was all over the ice, hitting opponents with ferocity, he was strong on the back-check, and he was shooting at will.
Jordan Greenway became the first player in Wild franchise history to score his first National Hockey League goal in the playoffs, and Minnesota romped to a victory over Winnipeg at Saint Paul, Minn.
Things were looking good for Ovechkin and the Capitals.
The Capitals went up 3-1 early in the game thanks to Alex Ovechkin's two goals in the first two periods. A close game and heart palpitations throughout the entire Caps fanbase. The goal was scored while a Blue Jackets player appeared to be off-sides, which would have negated the goal and continued the game.
The Jackets figured out that the way to beat Grubauer is to shoot high.
Asked specifically about Wilson right after Game 2, Trotz said he is "a bright young man" who is aware his recent penalties were unnecessary and gave the Blue Jackets momentum. Grubauer gave up four goals on 27 shots in Game 1. In short, lapses of judgement and common sense cost Washington dearly in Game 1 and Game 2.
Columbus heads home for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday two victories away from advancing to the second round for the first time in franchise history.
Some of that futility is offset by the Capitals' five power-play goals in 13 opportunities, but for a team to have playoff success, it needs to dominate five-on-five. Malkin and Dumoulin scored 5 seconds apart.
Ovechkin will never get an easier shot. The Blue Jackets again did enough things right to find a way to win.
Sergei Bobrovsky is a fine goaltender for the Blue Jackets, but his performance alone can not explain why the Capitals lost Game 2 despite taking 58 shots, 52 in regulation. He was Columbus's best player and made a career-best 54 saves from Washington's 58 shots. They will have two games at home, giving them the chance to get the series sweep on their home ice. In Stanley Cup playoff history, 86.4 percent of teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series have gone on to win it. T.J. Oshie cashed in from the slot and sent the game to overtime.