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Washington Capitals

Early Lead Pushes Capitals Past Blue Jackets, 2-1



Washington Capitals left wing Sonny Milano (15) celebrates his goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets with teammates, including right wing T.J. Oshie (77), right wing Anthony Mantha (39) and center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92), during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)

WASHINGTON — Two days removed from the group’s second shutout of the season, the Washington Capitals rebounded about as well as possible on Saturday.

A pair of first-period goals built the Capitals an insurmountable lead, allowing them to down the division rival Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1, at Capital One Arena.

Tom Wilson, who failed to beat Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins during a first period penalty shot, redeemed himself six minutes later to secure the game’s first lead for the Capitals.

Five minutes later, Nick Jensen faked out the Blue Jackets’ defense with a pass to Sonny Milano — one that looked like a shot — that Milano was able to sneak into the net, giving the Capitals a 2-0 lead.

It did not take long for the Blue Jackets, who entered the first intermission holding a 14-8 shots-on-goal advantage, to fight back. Dmitri Voronkov was able to beat Capitals goalie Charlie Lindgren early in the second period, trimming the team’s lead to one.

The Capitals proceeded to attack Merzlikins at a higher volume in the second period, limiting the amount of offensive chances for the Blue Jackets to take advantage of. The group tallied more shots on goal, 12-8, in the second period, before eventually matching the Blue Jackets’ output in the third period.

Despite the absence of Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, who left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury, the Blue Jackets were unable to capitalize on the short-handed Capitals defense. The Blue Jackets ended the night with 36 shots on goal, but could only muster the one score.


Three Capitals were called for penalties: Tom Wilson, John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov, each for tripping.


The Capitals’ current homestand comes to a close on Wednesday when the Florida Panthers come to Capital One Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Jared Serre covers the Washington Capitals for Washington Hockey Now. He is a graduate of West Virginia University.