Blue Jackets

Game Recap

Postgame Notebook: Blue Jackets 3, Capitals 0

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Mike Vogel  - Senior Writer

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Postgame Notebook: Blue Jackets 3, Capitals 0
Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Washington Capitals 0
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Dial “M” For Mason – In the world of movies, Alfred Hitchcock is known as “The Master of Suspense.” In the world of coaching, there are some who consider Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock “The Master of Defense.” With eight of his players – including his top three scorers and five of his top nine forwards – sidelined with various injuries, Hitchcock and his charges managed to whitewash Washington by a 3-0 score for the second time in 42 days.

Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason, a 20-year-old first pro who started this season with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL, came into Friday night’s game as the NHL’s leader in both GAA (1.82) and save pct. (.934). He was tied for the league lead with five shutouts. After blanking the Caps 3-0 on Friday, Mason now leads the league in shutouts as well.

Playing with a cobbled together lineup and with a few players who were still ailing, Hitchcock’s did exactly what he said they had to do before the game: win each period. Columbus scored one goal in each frame.

It marked the first time the Caps had been shutout at home since Atlanta’s Kari Lehtonen pitched a 2-0 shutout on Feb. 2, 2008.

Mason was terrific at controlling his rebounds, the Jackets were very adept at getting to the rare rebounds he left for the Caps, and Columbus blocked 16 of Washington’s shots. The Caps managed to get 45 shots on Mason, and they missed the net entirely with 14 others. So the Caps teed up 75 shots to the Blue Jackets’ 43 (23 on goal, 11 blocked by Washington and nine misses).

“It’s kind of a relief to be honest with you,” said Hitchcock after the game. “I think everyone knew our situation and I think we gained a lot of confidence by surviving the first period. I think a lot of our guys were in awe of what’s going on.  I think we were nervous and wondering what the heck was going to happen. We had not even spent any time [with the lines]. We never had one line that was even a line a week ago, and to come here and survive the first period gave us some good confidence. Then, when we got the first goal we kind of lifted ourselves from there. But, they’re a great team. I would not want to play this team with this lineup ever again.”

A Rare First Strike – The Caps have been dominant in the first period of home games this season, but the Jackets nicked Washington for a first-period strike on Friday. In 21 home games this season, the Capitals have now outscored the opposition 26-10. In their last 16 games on Verizon Center ice, the Caps hold a 15-4 scoreboard advantage.

Flash and Feds – Friday’s game marked the return to the lineup of Washington center Sergei Fedorov and left wing Tomas Fleischmann. Fedorov skated 15:55 (including 3:33 of power play time and 1:16 while the Caps were shorthanded) and totaled four shots on goal.

Fleischmann logged 16:25 (including 4:20 of power play time and 2:37 while Washington was a man short). He had two shots on goal and three takeaways.

Even as two players were returning to the Washington lineup, two more were headed to the sidelines. Defenseman Jeff Schultz sat out with a recurrence of the finger injury that kept him out for more than a month and Boyd Gordon (see below) headed to the sidelines after his back “seized up” during the pre-game warm-up.

Western Woes –
The Caps are now 6-7 against Western Conference teams; they are 21-5-3 against the East.

The Great Eight – Alex Ovechkin skated eight shifts for a total of 8:56 and fired eight shots in the first period of Friday night’s game against the Jackets. Four shots went on goal, two were blocked and two missed the net.

Ovechkin kept pumping pucks at the exact same rate for the rest of the night, with the exact same results after 60 minutes. He finished with a dozen shots on goal, but six other bids were blocked and a half dozen missed the net altogether.

His numbers were the same for each of the three periods: four shots on goal, two blocked and two missed. Ovechkin fired two dozen shots on the night, one more than the entire Jackets team managed to put on goal.

Streaks Stopped – Three significant Washington streaks were snuffed on this night. Caps goalie Jose Theodore had his personal winning streak stopped at six, one shy of matching his career best. The Caps’ overall winning streak of seven straight victories also came to an end, as the team failed in its bid to win eight in a row for the first time in nearly two decades (March, 1989). Finally, Washington’s attempt to match its franchise record of 10 straight home ice wins also fell short. The Caps had won nine in a row at home; they had a 10-game streak at MCI Center from Jan. 4 to Feb. 23, 2000.

A Man Down – Caps center Boyd Gordon suffered an undisclosed injury during warm-up and was not available for Friday’s game. We were told that he was being “worked on” and that there was a chance he would play later in the evening, but he did not.

“Skating around before the game, his back just seized up," said Boudreau. "I don’t know the prognosis yet.  He had this earlier on in the season when he missed a couple of games, so I assume he’s going to be out tomorrow, but I don’t know yet.”

The Caps missed Gordon's presence on the penalty killing unit and in the face-off circle on this night.

Happy Birthday – To Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, who celebrates his 54th birthday today. Had his charges delivered a win on Friday night, Boudreau would have clinched a spot as the assistant coach for the Eastern Conference All-Star Game in Montreal on Jan. 25.

As it stands, Saturday night’s game in Montreal between the Caps and the Canadiens will determine the All-Star assistant. If the Caps defeat the Habs in regulation or overtime, Boudreau will serve as the Eastern Conference assistant coach. If Montreal wins, Habs coach Guy Carbonneau will get the nod.

A Beast Against the East – Mason is now 6-0 with four shutouts against Eastern Conference foes. He has fashioned an otherworldly 0.66 GAA and a .976 save pct. in those half dozen games against the opposite conference.

Road Warriors – With Friday night’s win in Washington, the Blue Jackets have concluded their season-long six-game road trip with a very impressive 4-2 record. Columbus has won eight of its 23 road games this season, and half of those victories came on the just-completed trip.

Drought Over – Coming into Friday night’s game, the Jackets had gone 36 consecutive contests without scoring multiple power play goals in the same game. Columbus was an anemic 13-for-160 (8.1%) with the extra man during that stretch.

With a pair of power play strikes (2-for-7) against Washington on Friday, that drought/streak is over.

Boll Weevil – Columbus pest Jared Boll scored five goals as a rookie last season but had not scored in his first 33 games of 2008-09. With the Jackets leading 2-0 late in the third, he drew a double-minor on Washington’s Donald Brashear, getting the Caps enforcer to take a holding penalty and a roughing minor by delivering an ungloved punch to Boll’s beak.

With Brashear in the box, Boll delivered the final blow when he scored his first goal of the season on the ensuing power play. He scored the first power play goal of his career and skated 14:11 on the night, the second highest single-game ice time total he has registered in his 109-game NHL career.

Down on the Farm – The AHL Hershey Bears were at home on Friday night, hosting the Houston Aeros. The Bears took a 5-1 decision in a fight-filled tilt, exacting revenge for an earlier thumping at the hands of the Aeros in Houston last month.

Oskar Osala started the scoring for the home team, netting his 18th of the season with a single assist from linemate Mathieu Perreault. The Bears increased their lead to 2-0 when Alexandre Giroux notched his 25th of the season while Hershey was shorthanded, Bryan Helmer picked up the single assist. The Bears held a 2-0 lead after the first.

Andrew Gordon scored his 12th of the season with help from Andrew Joudrey at 8:13 of the second to give the Bears a three-goal cushion. Houston got one back in the last two minutes of the second on a power play, so the Bears took a two-goal advantage into the third.

Forty seconds into the third, Joudrey scored with help from Gordon and Chris Bourque to restore the Bears’ three-goal lead. The Bears’ Francois Bouchard scored his 11th of the season at 2:22 of the third with help from Osala and Kyle Wilson. That closed out the scoring for the night.

Greg Amadio, Graham Mink (twice) Patrick Wellar and Steve Pinizzotto all dropped the gloves for Hershey as five fights enlivened this contest for the crowd of 8,308. Simeon Varlamov made 23 saves to run his record to 16-3 on the season.

The Bears host Albany tomorrow and travel to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for another divisional game on Sunday. Hershey is now 28-9-0-1 and it holds a seven-point lead over second-place Bridgeport in the AHL’s East Division standings.

scoring summary
1st Period
R.J. Umberger (12) ASST: Jakub Voracek (12), Marc Methot (6)
1 - 0 CBJ
2nd Period
PPG - Fedor Tyutin (4) ASST: Manny Malhotra (6), Jared Boll (4)
2 - 0 CBJ
3rd Period
PPG - Jared Boll (1) ASST: Fedor Tyutin (14), Manny Malhotra (7)
3 - 0 CBJ
penalty summary
1st Period
Alex Ovechkin  Charging against  Marc Methot
Christian Backman  Interference against  David Steckel
Derek Dorsett  Tripping against  Chris Clark
Alexandre Picard  Hi-sticking against  Mike Green
2nd Period
Mike Commodore  Tripping against  Alexander Semin
Jakub Voracek  Too many men/ice - bench
Milan Jurcina  Holding against  Derek Dorsett
3rd Period
Alex Ovechkin  Interference against  Mike Commodore
Tyler Sloan  Cross checking against  Alexandre Picard
Donald Brashear  Holding against  Jared Boll
Donald Brashear  Roughing against  Jared Boll
Andrew Murray  Holding against  Brooks Laich
Mike Green  Tripping against  Michael Peca
goalie stats
Steve Mason
Steve Mason
SA: 45TOI: 60:00
Saves: 45EV: 28 - 28
PIM: 0PP: 16 - 16
SV%: 1.000SH: 1 - 1
Jose Theodore
Jose Theodore
SA: 23TOI: 59:52
Saves: 20EV: 11 - 12
PIM: 0PP: 9 - 11
SV%: .870SH: 0 - 0