The Columbus Blue Jackets travel to a familiar place, where they’ll meet the Washington Capitals at the Capital One Arena. It was this same arena that the Blue Jackets won their first two playoff games in against the Capitals. They took a 2-0 series lead heading to Washington in the first-round. With the Capitals in a difficult position, the Jackets went on to lose the next four games and the rest is history for the Caps.
Columbus were the only team that posed much of a threat, or made the Caps sweat the most during the playoffs, including the Stanley Cup Final against the Golden Knights. So, the Blue Jackets had that going for them last season. They can hang their hat on the fact that they gave the eventual champion the best challenge. However, it’s still a reminder of what got away from them. All they had to do is win one game in Columbus in Game 3 or 4 to put the Capitals on the ropes, but that quickly went up in smoke.
This will be the first meeting between the Blue Jackets and Capitals since a 6-3 win in Game 6 of the playoffs. That was the final dagger in the back of the Blue Jackets who had nothing left to five after failing to win a game on home ice. The Caps rode that momentum all the way to a Stanley Cup. The Capitals have been looking for momentum in 2018-19, but they haven’t hit that wave yet.
With a month for them to realize that the party is over, though, don’t be surprised if they begin to turn it up. A recent win over the Penguins may be what they needed to get it going. It was a stellar performance by Braden Holtby, as he’s been looking for one of those all season long against a quality offence. Get our free Blue Jackets vs. Capitals pick of this playoff rematch from last season at Capital One Arena.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Washington Capitals Pick
The Capitals are coming off a 2-1 win over the Penguins in Washington. They got a late T.J. Oshie goal with just under 2 minutes remaining to put the Pens away. The Pens finally got some good goaltending and the offence didn’t show up for them. All season it’s been the offence carrying the load, but they couldn’t help out much against Holtby. It should be a confidence builder for Holtby, who has been struggled to get into a groove.
Holtby turned back 41 of 42 shots in a game that the Caps were severely outshot. It’s one of the first games this season that Holtby won them a game with his play. The offence was able to take a rare night off, yet still come out on top with a victory. It was their second win in a row, following a 4-2 win over the Oilers. There have been gaping holes in the Jackets’ defence this season, which the Caps should be able to take advantage of at home.
The Jackets have allowed an average of 3.47 goals per game to put them right near the Capitals’ 3.5 goals allowed. I expect Holtby and the Washington defenders to get everything straightened out, though. I’m not as confident in Columbus. Bobrovsky hasn’t been getting much help, but he could be better with a 3.09 GAA and 0.902 save percentage.
Bobrovsky holds a 3.02 GAA and 0.90 save percentage against the Capitals in his career. After edging out the Penguins on Wednesday, expect the Capitals to start to find their element. With evidence of vintage Braden Holtby back in the building, I like the Caps to get their weekend started with a win over the Blue Jackets.