Sergei Bobrovsky made 54 saves, Matt Calvert scored the winner 12:22 into overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets overcame two goals from Alex Ovechkin beat the Washington Capitals 5-4 in Game 2 on Sunday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Calvert’s goal held up after the NHL situation room reviewed the play for a possible offside. Calvert was just onside when Josh Anderson brought the puck into the zone.
Columbus heads home for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday two victories away from advancing to the second round for the first time in franchise history. The Blue Jackets stunned the Metropolitan Division-champion Capitals with back-to-back overtime wins and have the advantage thanks in large part to the play of Bobrovsky.
The two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender continued his playoff reputation rehab tour by keeping his team in the game. Bobrovsky, who entered the arena in a beige trenchcoat as sharp as his play in net, entered these playoffs 3-10 with a 3.73 goals-against average and .887 save percentage but has now stopped 81 of 88 shots through two games.
Cam Atkinson scored twice, Anderson had a goal at even strength and Zack Werenski added one on the power play for the Blue Jackets, who have the odds on their side. In Stanley Cup playoff history, 86.4 per cent of teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series have gone on to win it.
Ovechkin looked like a man on a mission trying to tie the series for Washington three nights after coach Barry Trotz called him out for not making enough of an impact in Game 1. Jay Beagle’s early goal and Ovechkin’s two on the power play put Washington up 3-1 before undisciplined play took its toll.
Penalties to Tom Wilson and Devante Smith-Pelly allowed Columbus to tie the score and take the lead. But a delay of game penalty on Werenski set the stage for T.J. Oshie’s tying goal on the power play with 3:35 left.
The game only got to overtime because Braden Holtby stopped all five shots he faced in the third period after replacing Philipp Grubauer, who allowed four goals on 22 shots. Washington outshot Columbus 21-5 in the third as Bobrovsky made several big stops, including one on Nicklas Backstrom when he didn’t know where the puck was and another minutes later when a shot banked off the post and his left skate and he covered up in the crease.
NOTES: Columbus improved to 4-1 all-time in playoff overtime games. ... Linesman Steve Barton had to be helped off the ice late in the first period after clipping skates with Anderson and going down clutching his left knee. On site as the standby official, mid-amateur golfer/referee Garrett Rank replaced Barton as the second linesman. ... Columbus C Alexander Wennberg was out after taking a hit to the head from Wilson in Game 1. Coach John Tortorella only called Wennberg “day-to-day” with an upper-body injury. Sonny Milano played his second career playoff game in replacing Wennberg. ... Beagle returning after missing four games with an upper-body injury, Capitals F Jakub Vrana was a healthy scratch after recording an assist and committing two turnovers in 6:58 of ice time in Game 1. ... Commissioner Gary Bettman was in attendance.