The Capitals retuned home after a two game road trip against some of the best from the West. The Caps came away with one point out of the possible four, so the Caps were eager get back to DC. Four of the next five games are at home, first up were the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The first period was in favor of the visiting Blue Jackets, generating more scoring opportunities and shots, and then the second period featured more action. After defensemen Steven Oleksy got an interference penalty at the five minute mark, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky got a delay of game penalty to even the playing field. On the Capitals power play following the four on four play, Dubinsky of the Blue Jackets struck first with a short-handed goal. The Caps had a couple of power play opportunities, but could not convert. It took a great effort by Martin Erat to set up John Carlson for the first Washington goal of the game. Erat drove the slot and tipped the puck cross side for an easy empty netter for Carlson. Carlson has been hot for the Caps as of late, scoring in four of his last six games. The Capitals then had a power play opportunity just over a minute before the end of the second period. They could not convert in the second or third period.
The Blue Jackets had two power play chances in the first half of the third period. It was not until the second power play where a goal was scored, except it wasn’t Columbus. After the puck was misplayed off of the boards, Joel Ward scored a short-handed goal to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead. Not one, but two short-handed goals in this Metropolitan division matchup tonight. Just minutes later, The Jackets evened up the score with a shot from the outside. The puck found its way off of a deflection with a herd of bodies in front of Braden Holtby. Then at the 14-minute mark and 19 seconds, Cam Atkinson scored on a breakaway goal to give Columbus the one goal lead. The bouncing puck was misplayed by Mike Green, which led to an open lane to the goal.
It looked as if the Capitals were on their way to another third period collapse until Mikhail Grabovski scored his 100th career goal with just one minute and 45 seconds left to play. It was the sixth goal of the season and Grabovski is riding a hot streak in which he has 11 points in his last 11 games. The Capitals were heading to overtime in a situation that seems much to familiar over the short part of the season so far. Just over a minute and a half into overtime, Marcus Johansson made a spectacular effort dangling through traffic and getting a shot off inside. The shot created a rebound for the captain Alex Ovechkin to score an overtime winner. Alex Ovechkin’s overtime game winner is the 14th goal of the season.
The Capitals showed a great team effort across the board in getting this late comeback win. They avoided another third period collapse and rallied together before it was too late. The third line of Jason Chimera, Mikhail Grabovski and Joel Ward continue to be a dominant presence on the ice, recording two of the four goals for the team tonight. Joel Ward has scored nine goals in the first nineteen games, the best start of his career. John Carlson continues to be an all around great defensemen with an emerging offensive game. He has been great on that end in the last six games, holding the blue line and joining in with offensive rushes. Then there were great efforts by the fourth liners, Tom Wilson showing his physicality on a big hit and Michael Latta was tremendous in the penalty kill tonight. Last, but not least, Alex Ovechkin continues to have a great start to the short season, scoring the game winner tonight. The Caps travel to Detroit this Friday to take on the Red Wings and then return home for three straight games. The Caps were 4-3 Overtime winners tonight, they look keeping winning in an effort to pursue the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.