Blue Jackets gain national attention after big win

by Leon Thompson April 15, 2018, 0:07
Blue Jackets gain national attention after big win

It's the start of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Russian forward Artemi Panarin scored six minutes into overtime to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals in the opening game of their first round National Hockey League playoff series.

As the period started to wind down, there was a twist in the game, and Columbus was soon down one man for five minutes, and then for the entirety of the game.

To capitalize the Caps' power play, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the first goal to draw blood.

The Blue Jackets had to overcome an early two-goal deficit, and then another deficit late in the third period, to get the win. The NHL Department of Player Safety reviews all hits, and Wilson's charging infraction on Columbus center Alexander Wennberg is in the process of being examined, according to a source. That's a critical moment. Maybe pass up on that hit. We've got the lead there so maybe a big hit is not needed.

Kane broke a scoreless deadlock at the 7:07 mark of the second period at Honda Center.

Wennberg left the game with an upper-body injury in the third period and didn't return.

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"There was no panic on the bench there", coach John Tortorella said. "So, I give him a lot of credit for how he's evolved with that". They regularly get outshot as well. "We just stayed with it". Holtby was in goal for all four games. Jones drew a tripping penalty on Andre Burakovsky that Washington coach Barry Trotz called unnecessary, nearly put the puck in his own net on the delayed penalty and then scored off a pass from Panarin on the ensuing power play with just 4:26 left in regulation.

Panarin, who didn't address the media after the game, beat Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov up the left wing wall on the rush after Orlov was trapped on the ice after a long shift, and swiftly beat Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer to the glove side with seemingly not much of an angle to do so. Ovechkin has rebounded from his "worst" season ever - he still had 33 goals a year ago - and has been pumping in shots from his favorite spot above the circle once again.

If you didn't know any better, it sure seemed as though the Washington Capitals were well on their way to a relatively easy Game 1 win in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Capital One Arena on Thursday night.

"I just think (Grubauer) deserves the opportunity", Trotz told thesportscapital.com of going with Grubauer in Game 1. "We'll sit down, we'll reevaluate all the goals, we'll reevaluate our team and where we're at and we'll go from there". For Columbus, Sergei Bobrovsky is often the reason that the team is in games, and has stolen a few over the course of the regular season.

"That's the team effort", Bobrovsky said. The choice in net is obviously up to the coaches, and it is going to be an extremely important one, as this series is going to be one of the tightest of any first round series, and losing a game because of a poor start in net is not going to end well for Washington.

NOTES: Trotz said Kempny, whose head hit the glass on Anderson's hit from behind, would be re-evaluated Friday. T.J. Oshie has had a rough season but has 12 points in 16 games since March 1.

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