NHL Hockey

Final 1 2 3 OT Tot
Columbus 1 0 0 1 2
Washington 0 0 1 0 1
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, January 12, 2019
Capital One Arena, Washington, District of Columbia  Attendance: 18,506

Blue Jackets resolve goalie issue before trip to Caps

Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals

  1. Including last year's postseason, the Blue Jackets have won three of their last four trips to Washington D.C., including a 2-1 victory on November 9, 2018. All four of the games have been decided by one goal with all three of the playoff games going to overtime.
  2. The Blue Jackets defeated the Predators at home on Thursday, 4-3 in overtime. Columbus went 2-for-2 on the power play in the win, their first two power-play goals since December 13, breaking an eleven-game streak without a power-play goal, one game short of the franchise record (12, 2016-17 season).
  3. The Capitals won in Boston on Thursday, 4-2. Washington has the league's best road record since December 6, 7-1-1 (.833), despite scoring just one goal on the power play in those nine games. They have scored only two goals in 22 power-play opportunities in their last six home games (4-2-0, .667)
  4. Artemi Panarin scored both of the Blue Jackets power-play goals in the win over the Predators while Boone Jenner scored the other two goals. That was the fourth time this season that two Blue Jackets have scored multiple goals, tied for the most such games in a season in franchise history (2016-17).
  5. Nicklas Backstrom scored the game-winning goal in the win over the Bruins, his fourth game winner of the season, one shy of his career high for a season (2016-17). The goal snapped a 15-game goalless streak for Backstrom, his longest since 2017 (21 games in October and November).
  6. The Capitals have scored 119 even-strength goals this season, fourth most in the league, while the Blue Jackets have scored 117, fifth most. However, Washington has only allowed 88 even-strength goals against this season, fourth fewest in the NHL, and Columbus has allowed 107, tenth most.

There is a battle for the top spots of the Metropolitan Division at the midway point of the NHL season, and two of the contenders will meet Saturday night in Washington.

The Capitals, on a three-game winning streak, lead the division with 58 points. That's four points ahead of Pittsburgh and five in front of Columbus, which comes to D.C. on Saturday.

Both teams are coming off big victories.

The Blue Jackets won 4-3 in overtime against the Nashville Predators on Thursday. Artemi Panarin got the game-winning goal at 1:22 of overtime.

The bigger news might have been off the ice when, according to media reports, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was informed he needed to keep away from the team before the Nashville game. The Athletic reported there had been an "incident" that "failed to meet expectations and values" of the Blue Jackets.

The issue seemed resolved Friday after he met with the team and team officials. Bobrovsky practiced and met with reporters afterward.

"I let my emotions get to me when I shouldn't," Bobrovsky said. "I pride myself to being a good teammate all the time. ... We cleaned the air and we're ready to move on. It's going to stay in the room between us."

Bobrovsky will travel with the team to Washington, although it wasn't immediately clear if he or Joonas Korpisalo -- who stepped in for him Thursday -- would start.

Thursday's victory was the 600th of coach John Tortorella's NHL career. The Blue Jackets gave him the game puck afterward, but in his typical style, the coach played it down later.

"I don't think of it as something special," Tortorella said on NHL.com. "It's a number. But I'm honored and privileged to have the opportunity to be in the game as long as I have. That's what the number is."

Washington, meanwhile, scored its 14th consecutive win over the Bruins in a 4-2 victory in Boston on Thursday night, despite being outshot 41-22.

Alex Ovechkin scored twice, and goalie Braden Holtby improved to 16-2-0 versus the Bruins with a marvelous 39-save performance. Holtby told The Washington Post he's not exactly sure why the Capitals have dominated Boston so much recently, but that he likes going against them.

"We play pretty good hockey against them," Holtby said.

"We've had success against them, but they've always been good games. It's just one of those things that seems to just happen, but they're a fun team to play against. They work hard, and they battle, especially in tough areas.

"So I think that might be why we're so engaged in the game when we play them, because they play a hard style of hockey every game."

Nicklas Backstrom got the tiebreaking goal in the third period to give Washington a 3-2 lead just over a minute after Boston knotted the game at 2. Ovechkin added a late, long empty-net goal. He leads the NHL with 32 goals and moved into 50th place on the NHL's all-time points list with 1,171 (639 goals, 532 assists).

Also for Columbus, Nick Foligno came back after missing the previous four games due to medical issues with his daughter.

In other off-ice news, longtime Blue Jacket winger Rick Nash announced his retirement Friday due to medical reasons stemming from concussion problems. Columbus drafted Nash first overall in 2002, and he spent nine seasons with the team.

He leads the Columbus record books in games played (674), goals (289), assists (258) and points (547). Nash later played with the New York Rangers and then, briefly, with Boston last season. He had not played this season.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 11, 2019

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