If the Blue Jackets get this version of Sergei Bobrovsky on a regular basis going forward, they will be in good shape.
Without his other-worldly performance tonight at Verizon Center, the Capitals may have run away with two points. Instead, Columbus scratched out a point against the NHL's top team, but fell three points behind them with nine games left and only one head-to-head matchup remaining.
Bobrovsky made 44 saves and it took 35 to finally crack him, as Dmitry Orlov's rocket slap shot beat him glove side to tie the game in the third period. Orlov's equalizer answered an early third-period goal from Seth Jones, who buried a rebound behind Braden Holtby after Brandon Dubinsky rang the post seconds earlier.
After an entertaining and back-and-forth overtime period, the only shootout goal was scored by leadoff hitter TJ Oshie, who has a bit of a history with Bobrovsky from the 2014 Olympics. His quick five-hole shot gave Washington the extra point, while Gagner, Cam Atkinson and Alexander Wennberg were turned away by Braden Holtby.
"(In the) third period, the energy picked up and there was a little more intensity," Sam Gagner said. "Bob kept us in it. They pushed back like we thought...it's unfortunate to come out on the losing side."
How's this for a stat line? Bobrovsky is 8-0-2 in his last 10 appearances with a 1.18 goals-against average and .963 save percentage. He's been incredible.
Oliver Bjorkstrand did not travel with the Blue Jackets and missed Thursday's game against Washington. Scott Hartnell drew back in the lineup and played on the fourth line with Gagner and Lukas Sedlak.
The Blue Jackets are looking at a necessary day of rest on Friday after two tough back-to-back games against the Maple Leafs and Capitals. They'll be back in action Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. start against the Flyers at Nationwide Arena.