Capitals 6, Blue Jackets 2
A Sixer –
Washington popped the top on its six-pack of pre-season games with a six-goal offensive outburst and a 6-2 road win over the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Wednesday.
Free agent camp invitee Matt Hendricks paced the Washington attack with a hat trick, aiding his uphill bid to crack a deep and diverse group of Capitals forwards. Center Tomas Fleischmann
, looking to put a chokehold on the No. 2 pivot job in the District, had a pair of goals and an assist. He also won six of 10 (60%) face-offs on the night.
notched the other Washington goal, and Alexander Semin
chipped in with three secondary assists.
Netminder Semyon Varlamov
stopped all 20 shots he faced in 30:09 of work, displaying his reflexes and athleticism on several stellar stops from in tight. Braden Holtby
finished up in goal, stopping 17 of the 19 shots he faced the rest of the way.
Washington went 1-for-4 on the power play and successfully snuffed all four Columbus extra-man bids on the night.
Three Caps played in their first ever NHL preseason contests and all three acquitted themselves well. Center Marcus Johansson
finished with two assists and a plus-2 in exactly 16 minutes of action. He won just five of 14 (36%) face-offs on the night.
Eakin notched his first NHL pre-season goal late in the second period. He was even and split a dozen draws while logging 11:04 of ice time.
Holtby was nicked for goals by noted sniper Rick Nash and promising prospect Nikita Filatov. He also made some strong saves and displayed some good puckhandling savvy on at least one occasion.
Three of the Blue Jackets who dressed for Wednesday’s game have roots in the Capitals’ organization. A trio of the Caps in the lineup for the contest also have hockey ties to the Columbus area.
Blue Jackets right wing Chris Clark spent four and a half seasons in Washington, serving as the Caps’ captain for the last three and a half seasons of that stretch. He came to Columbus along with defenseman Milan Jurcina in the Dec. 28, 2009 trade that sent Jason Chimera
to the District.
Columbus defenseman Ted Ruth was Washington’s second-round choice (46th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He was dealt to Columbus on Feb. 26, 2008 in exchange for center Sergei Fedorov.
Jackets goaltender Daren Machesney, who was victimized for the last four Washington goals on just 16 shots, was the Capitals’ fifth-round choice (143rd overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
Besides Washington winger Chimera, defenseman Tyler Sloan
began his pro career with the Blue Jackets organization as a free agent a decade ago.
Finally, Caps defenseman Sean Collins
played four years of college hockey in Columbus for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Chimera’s sweater was adorned with the captain’s “C” for Wednesday’s game. Forward Brooks Laich
and defenseman John Erskine
sported the alternate captain’s “A”s for the contest.
Unlikely Helper –
Joel Rechlicz’s primary assist on Eakin’s goal was his first helper – and first point – at any level since March 5, 2008. That night, playing for the New York Islanders in the first of the 23 NHL games in which he has participated, Rechlicz picked up a secondary assist on a Blake Comeau goal.
Coming into the 2010-11 season, Rechlicz has a total of one goal and three points in 145 games in five different leagues (NHL, AHL, ECHL, IHL and UHL). He has totaled 560 penalty minutes in those games.
Top Six, Top Picks –
All six of the forwards on the Jackets’ top two lines in Wednesday’s game are former first-round draft choices and all were chosen within the top 16 picks of their respective draft years.
Left wing R. J. Umberger was Vancouver’s first-round pick (16th overall) in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Each of the other five forwards on the Jackets’ top two lines was a Columbus first-round choice: Rick Nash (first overall in 2002), Derick Brassard (seventh overall in 2006), Jakub Voracek (seventh overall in 2007), Nikita Filatov (sixth overall in 2008) and Ryan Johansen (fourth overall in 2010).
Preseason Schedule –
This marks the second straight pre-season in which Washington has not scheduled a game against a Southeast Division opponent. Southeast foes visit Verizon Center three times each regular season as it is.
This is also the second straight fall the Caps have taken on at least one Western Conference foe (two this year) in the pre-season.
By The Numbers – John Carlson
led all Caps defensemen with 21:14 in ice time … Semin paced Washington forwards with 18:12 of work … Seventeen of the 18 Columbus skaters registered at least one shot on goal with only 2010 draftee Petr Straka going without … Andrew Gordon
led the way with four hits of the 13 credited to Washington … Caps defensemen accounted for nine of the team’s 11 blocked shots on the night … Rookie Columbus rearguard David Savard led all skaters on both sides with 25:49 in ice time. Along with partner Jan Hejda, Savard was one of only two Jackets with a positive mark (+1) on the night.