The Washington Capitals look to extend their point streak to nine games when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night.
Washington is 6-0-2 in its past eight games following a 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night.
The Capitals are 11-2-1 in their past 14 games and that surge has been fueled by the combination of strong goaltending and impressive offense. Washington has scored three or more goals in 13 of its last 14 games while allowing two or fewer goals in 10 of 14.
After passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL’s all-time goals list, Alex Ovechkin has not slowed down, notching five goals in his past two games to give him 28 overall. He has tallied multiple goals in three of his last five games.
Meanwhile, Washington is getting depth scoring from skaters like fourth-line center Nic Dowd, whose 10 goals are one off his career high.
Washington battled back from a 3-1 deficit and took a 4-3 lead before falling to the visiting Sabres.
“I think everything was when we start play hard, we start to put puck deep, forechecking well, it kind of opens up in the offensive zone,” said Ovechkin, who scored in the second and third periods. “We have very good chances right away in the second period then execute and then score.”
After Ovechkin made it 4-3, Buffalo’s Tyson Jost tied it, and Tage Thompson completed his third hat trick of the season after a Washington turnover in overtime.
“After the roll we’ve been on, the wins these guys have piled in, a game like that felt super uncharacteristic for us so we’ll grab it quick and luckily we play in a couple more days with a back-to-back and can right the ship pretty quick here,” said forward T.J. Oshie, who returned after missing six games due to an upper-body injury.
The Blue Jackets are heading in the wrong direction, having lost eight of nine after being shut out 4-0 by the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. It was the eighth straight road loss for Columbus, which has been outscored 31-14 in their past nine games.
Joonas Korpisalo made 30 saves for the Blue Jackets and Patrik Laine returned after missing two games in COVID-19 protocol.
“Sometimes the best wins are coming from behind, and we just haven’t seemed to ever find that this year,” Columbus forward Cole Sillinger said. “We’re scoring one, two, maybe maximum three goals a game, and it’s tough when you get down 3-0 in the third and you’re trying to fight back.
“We just have to dig a little deeper and play together.”
Tuesday was the 19th time in their 36 games that the Blue Jackets have scored two or fewer goals.
Given those struggles, one thing Columbus can’t do is take penalties. Ottawa, boasting the league’s fourth best power play entering Wednesday, went 2-for-6 with the extra man.
“What do you expect is going to happen against a good power play? It’s just silly,” Columbus coach Brad Larsen said. “They’re all penalties. Every single one of them. We have to skate and we didn’t. We’re hooking hands, we’re reaching.”
Johnny Gaudreau leads the Blue Jackets with 37 points (10 goals, 27 assists) but has gone nine games without a goal.
Washington has won four of the last five meetings between the teams.
–Field Level Media