The Caps went into last night's game looking to avenge being on the losing end of the longest shootout game in league history. Again.
Meanwhile, Columbus had finally gotten most of their players healthy, and were riding a seven game winning streak, and a four-game overtime winning streak (tied for the longest in league history).
Well, the first period played out about as you'd expect, with a very hungry team and one that might be a tiny bit complacent. The result? The Caps took a 2-0 lead on the back of a 15-5 shot lead (with Columbus leading in blocked shots by 7, so it was even more unbalanced than that appears). It is true that part of that edge came from both power plays being in the Caps' favor, but they were plenty dominant at even strength as well. In fact, Ward's and Chimmer's goals were both at even strength.
That period certainly left me feeling a bit complacent, and contemplating going to sleep early, but I didn't.
And Columbus didn't either, coming out firing in the second. Nine minutes in, they scored on the power play on a nice passing play giving Jack Johnson a slam-dunk of a goal. Three minutes later, Foligno tied it, also on the power play, and then all hell broke loose.
First, Wilson was manhandled by Dalton Prout (never seen that happen before), then Boll and Latta went at it two seconds later. Half a minute later, the penalty boxes filled up as Brouwer and Tyutin exchanged a few niceties, resulting in roughing minors for each. Almost a minute later, Carlson was hit hard, and responded by going after the first Blue Jacket he could reach. A bit of a dive there, I think, but Carlson also went off for roughing (yeah, it was mighty crowded in the box at that point).
The Caps did kill the penalty successfully (finally), but Brouwer decided he wasn't done, as he and Chaput fought only a minute after that (it didn't go terribly well for Brouwer, but he wasn't hurt). Chaput got the extra call for instigation on that, but the Caps weren't able to convert.
That finally got us to the end of a period that saw the Jackets outshoot the Caps, 15-9, and left the score knotted up.
The third started very poorly for the Caps, with Foligno scoring on the rebound of Morin's shot from a sharp angle.
It took a bit over six minutes for the Caps to answer that, and the answer came in the surprising form of Karl Alzner. He found a busted clear in the high slot, skated out to the left, and shot back across the goal, sneaking it in off the inside of Bob's arm.
That left things very tense, and they got more so for the Caps, when, eight minutes later, Chaput got his first NHL goal off a rebound near the net. He put it over the sprawled Holtby to give Columbus the lead with only a few minutes left.
A minute and a half later, Green got the puck in his end, and did his old "one-man breakout" routine when he saw Columbus changing. He took it all the way into the zone, cut across to the opposite side, then threw it back across the rink where he perfectly hit Troy Brouwer, who was making a back-door cut to the open net. I really wish Green would do that sort of thing more often; it's a lot of fun to watch.
The last three minutes passed in anxious waiting for something to happen, but things were quiet.
That sent the game into overtime again, where Columbus' record is far better than Washington's.
But things worked out well. Half a minute in, Green got it back in his own end and saw a lot of open ice in front of him. He took it all the way up, staying on the same side, and threw it to the front just before he passed behind the net. Fehr was charging in, there, and put a one-timer between Bob's legs for the win.
It was quite an exclamation point for a roller coast of a game.
The win leaves the Caps in third place in the division, and hanging on to the edge of playoff position.
Next up, the road trip continues in New Jersey, Saturday evening. Go Caps!