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Caps and Jackets Take Rivalry to Next Level

April 11, 2018
April 15 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets at Capital One Arena

Time: 7:30 p.m.

TV: NBC Sports Washington, USA

Radio: 99.1 FM and Capitals Radio 24/7


Columbus Blue Jackets 45-30-7

Washington Capitals 49-26-7


Once upon a time, the Columbus Blue Jackets resided in the NHL’s Western Conference. From the time they began their NHL existence in 2000-01 until the forming of the Metropolitan Division in 2013-14, the Jackets were a Central Division team in the Western Conference. 

Washington and Columbus clashed seven times in the Jackets’ first five seasons in the league, and then the two teams did not meet at all in 2006-07. The Caps and Jackets faced one another seven more times over the next five seasons, and not at all in the lockout-abbreviated season of 2012-13.

The days of the Caps seeing the Jackets so sporadically are over. With the two Metro rivals set to go head-to-head for the first time in the Stanley Cup playoffs in a series that starts on Thursday in the District, Washington and Columbus could play as many games against one another in the next two weeks as they did for the Jackets’ first five seasons in the league.

With the forming of the Metro Division in 2013-14, the Caps became division rivals with the Jackets and the two teams have met 22 times in the past five seasons. Washington owns a 14-5-3 record in those 22 regular season Metro meetings against Columbus – and a 20-7-1-4 record overall – and there have been some standout contests and moments among the bunch. 

Here’s a look back at some of the more memorable of the regular season meetings between Washington and Columbus over the years. Those folks who haven’t seen many Caps-Jackets games over the years likely see this upcoming playoff series as one without a whole lot of built-in hostility. But those of us who have witnessed the battles between these two teams – even before they became divisional rivals – know that it’s not going to take long for the lid to go flying off the pot in this series.


Nov. 29, 2003 – Caps 5, Jackets 3 

Peter Bondra recorded the 19 thand last of his hat tricks in a Caps sweater at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. Jaromir Jagr (for Washington) and Rick Nash (for Columbus) also scored in that game, and both Nash and Jagr were still active in the NHL this season.

Oct. 5, 2005 – Caps 3, Jackets 2

Alex Ovechkin scored a pair of goals in his NHL debut, beating Jackets goalie Marc Denis twice. On his first shift in the NHL at the outset of the game, Ovechkin also plastered Jackets defenseman Radoslav Suchy into the glass behind the Columbus net, breaking that pane of glass and causing a virtually instant delay in the first minute of the contest.

Feb. 5, 2008 – Caps 4, Jackets 3 (OT) 

Washington rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to earn a 4-3 ovrtime win over the Jackets in Columbus in an event-filled game. Ovechkin scored twice, including the game-winner in the extra session after defenseman Tom Poti tied the game for Washington in the third period with his first goal in a Caps sweater. Nash scored twice for the Jackets, and his first goal was the first three-on-five shorthanded goal in Columbus franchise history. Nash’s second goal came when Caps defenseman Shaone Morrisonn collided with referee Bill McCreary, leaving Nash a one-on-one situation with Caps goalie Brent Johnson. Jackets goalie Pascal Leclaire – who entered the game as the NHL’s leader with eight shutouts – had to be helped off the ice after a second-period collision with Washington winger Quintin Laing, who was penalized for goaltender interference. The Caps scored on their first shot on net against backup goaltender Fredrik Norrena. 

Nov. 29, 2008 – Jackets 3, Caps 0

Rookie Jackets goalie Steve Mason shutout the high-octane Washington offense not once, but twice in 2008-09, accounting for two of the three games in which the Caps were blanked that season. The 20-year-old Mason recorded his second career shutout in the Nov. 29 game, also halting Ovechkin’s 10-game scoring streak, a run in which he totaled 11 goals and 11 assists. 

Jan. 9, 2009 – Jackets 3, Caps 0

In the Jan. 9 game, Mason was fighting back spasms and very nearly wasn’t able to make the start. With Leclaire out because of an injured ankle, the Jackets would have had to turn to untested rookie Dan LaCosta, who later in the season earned the unique distinction of pitching a shutout in what would turn out to be his second and final NHL start. The Columbus training staff got Mason ready to go, and he authored the sixth of his 10 shutouts that season, stopping a whopping 45 shots. Mason won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie that season, and he stopped all 71 Washington shots he faced in his freshman campaign. 

Nov. 1, 2009 – Jackets 5, Caps 4 (OT)

Ovechkin became entangled in a scrum along the boards with a group of Blue Jackets – including future teammate Jason Chimera – early in the second period, and the Washington winger left the game with an upper body injury. He missed the next six games, his longest continuous absence ever from the Washington lineup. When Brooks Laich scored two goals in a span of 2:08 through the third, the Caps had a one-goal lead. But Raffi Torres tied the game with 23 seconds remaining in regulation, and R.J. Umberger won it for Columbus in overtime.

March 31, 2011 – Caps 4, Jackets 3 (OT)

Chimera scored the game-winner for the Caps in Washington, biting the hand that once fed him and ending a seesaw affair in which Columbus came back three times to tie the game. 

Dec. 31, 2011 – Caps 4, Jackets 2

Down 2-0 heading into the third period on New Year’s Eve in Columbus, the Caps erupted for four goals in a span of just 6:40 in the third period to skate out of town with a 4-2 victory in what would be the last game between the two teams before they became division rivals. Ovechkin scored the first and fourth of those goals, with the second one coming on a Washington power play with assists from Dmitry Orlov and Karl Alzner, the first power-play point of Alzner’s NHL career.

Nov. 12, 2013 – Caps 4, Jackets 3 (OT)

The Caps were down a goal with less than two minutes remaining in this one, but Mikhail Grabovski’s 100 thcareer goal tied the game at 3-3 with 1:45 remaining, and Ovechkin won it for Washington in overtime, his 13 thcareer overtime game-winner and the third of those to come at the Blue Jackets’ expense. 

Jan. 17, 2014 – Jackets 5, Caps 1

The first of two sound beatings the Caps absorbed at the hands of the Jackets in Columbus in a span of two weeks as Washington’s season goes off the rails while Columbus firms up a run to its second ever playoff berth. Late in the third period, rookie Caps defenseman Connor Carrick engaged in his first NHL fight with Jackets winger Matt Calvert. Philipp Grubauer started in goal for the Caps, but he was pulled in favor of Braden Holtby after allowing three goals on 14 shots in just over 20 minutes of work. 

Jan. 30, 2014 – Jackets 5, Caps 2

Ryan Johansen scored twice for Columbus, reaching the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his NHL career as the Jackets romped over Washington again. Ovechkin was a career worst minus-5 on the night, and those divisional rival tempers began to flare as the game also featured bouts between the Caps’ Tom Wilson and the Jackets’ Nick Foligno and between Washington’s Troy Brouwer and Columbus’ Boone Jenner. 

Nov. 11, 2014 – Caps 4, Jackets 2

This game began the Barry Trotz era of the Caps-Jackets series. Washington handed injury-depleted Columbus its ninth straight loss (0-8-1) in this one, as Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson scored twice each to account for the Caps’ four goals.  

Dec. 11, 2014 – Jackets 3, Caps 2 (OT)

Foligno scored twice, including the game-winner in overtime – enabling the Jackets to win a game in which the Caps outshot them 41-23 in Washington. Sergei Bobrovsky made 39 saves for Columbus.

Dec. 18, 2014 –  Caps 5, Jackets 4 (OT)

Meeting in Columbus a week after they went head-to-head in Washington, the two teams also needed overtime for the second time in as many meetings. The Caps scored twice in the first, and the Jackets tied it with two in the second. Fisticuffs were also featured in the second period. Wilson fought Dalton Prout in the middle of the middle frame, and two seconds of “playing time” later, Washington’s Michael Latta squared off with Columbus’ Jared Boll. A few minutes after that scrap, Brouwer dropped the mitts and fought the Jackets’ Michael Chaput. With 4:25 left in the third, Chaput netted his first NHL goal to give Columbus a 4-3 lead. But Brouwer tied it for the Caps with three minutes left, and Eric Fehr won it for Washington just 42 seconds into the extra session. The Washington win halted the Jackets’ winning streak at seven.

March 3, 2015 – Caps 5, Jackets 3

Ovechkin scored twice to record his fifth career multi-goal game against the Jackets, who got two goals from Scott Hartnell in a losing effort. The game featured four fights: Latta vs. Justin Falk in the first, Brouwer vs. Cody Goloubef and Wilson vs. Boll in the second, and finally Chimera vs. Prout in the third. The game also marked the Washington debut of Curtis Glencross, obtained from Calgary days earlier.

Jan. 2, 2016 – Jackets 5, Caps 4 (SO)

This was the only shootout game the Caps and Jackets had ever played to this point, and it was a wild one. Columbus goalie Anton Forsberg earned his first career victory despite not entering the game until the first minute of overtime when starter Curtis McElhinney fell awkwardly and had to leave the game. Forsberg weathered a Washington power play and made six saves, then became the first goalie in NHL history to earn his first win in the league in a game he entered after the end of regulation. The Caps were 68 seconds away from winning it in regulation before Brandon Saad scored to tie the game at 4-4 for Columbus.

March 28, 2016 – Caps 4, Jackets 1

Washington scored three goals in the third to break a 1-1 tie and clinch the Presidents’ Trophy. Wilson scored early in the third, and then T.J. Oshie tallied a power-play goal eight seconds after Columbus center Brandon Dubinsky was seated for goaltender interference, a penalty that Jackets coach John Tortorella disagreed with after the game (“Holtby looked like he had been shot,” said the Jackets’ bench boss).

Nov. 15, 2016 – Jackets 2, Caps 1 (OT)

In the first meeting between the two teams in 2016-17 in Columbus, the Caps nursed a 1-0 lead into the latter half of the third period, but Zach Werenski knotted the score with just under seven minutes left, and Caps killer Cam Atkinson won it for the home team just 37 seconds into the extra session. Making his second straight start, Grubauer took the loss.

Nov. 20, 2016 – Jackets 3, Caps 2

Five days after their previous meeting in Ohio’s capital city, the Caps and Jackets met again in the District in another game that turned in Columbus’ favor late. The Caps took a 2-1 lead into the third period, but Dubinsky knotted the game just 14 seconds into the final frame. With less than two minutes left in the game, Backstrom and Foligno – who were sent off for matching roughing minors in the second – battled for a puck along the wall. Backstrom was whistled for a hi-sticking penalty on the play, a penalty the Caps disputed because replays showed the center’s stick never touched the Jackets captain. Alexander Wennberg won it for Columbus on the ensuing power play, scoring with 54 seconds left in the game. "If you see the replay, [Foligno] doesn't really touch him, and his head pops up when (Backstrom's) stick is already on the way down. That's just a little disrespectful to the game," said Trotz after the game. "The penalty call was not great for me." Tortorella retorted a day later: “Quit whining. That’s all I have to say.” 

Jan. 5, 2017 – Caps 5, Jackets 0

Washington’s only shutout win ever over the Jackets also ended a 16-game Columbus winning streak just one game shy of matching an NHL record. The Caps got goals from five different players, all at even strength, to thwart the Jackets’ impressive winning spree, and Holtby made 29 saves to earn the shutout. 

March 23, 2017 – Caps 2, Jackets 1 (SO)

Oshie scored in the shootout to lift the Caps in a game in which Bobrovsky made 44 saves during regulation. The game was scoreless after 40 minutes, and both teams got goals from defensemen (Seth Jones for the Jackets and Dmitry Orlov for the Caps) in the third. For Oshie, the shootout winner harkened back to the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, when he helped Team USA to a victory over Team Russia, beating Bobrovsky on three of five shootout tries. 

Feb. 6, 2018 – Caps 3, Jackets 2

Playing the front end of a home-and-home set of games in Columbus, the Caps eked out a win in the game’s final minute when Backstrom scored his 200 thcareer goal on a feed from Oshie. Wilson’s goal in the second gave the Caps a 2-1 lead that they took into the third, but Dubinsky tied it with 6:05 left in the third. The game appeared headed for overtime until Backstrom intervened, making a winner of Holtby (37 saves). 

Feb. 26, 2018 – Jackets 5, Caps 1

Coming back to Columbus for an encore on trade deadline day, center Mark Letestu scored one of four first-period goals for the Jackets, who chased Holtby to the bench after he permitted four goals – two of them on the power play -- on 16 shots in 20 minutes of work. Tortorella got into a shouting match with Ovechkin – accusing him of diving after taking a Calvert butt-end to the grill – at the end of the first period. The Columbus coach saw the error of his ways and said as much after the game: "That's my fault. I thought (Ovechkin) dove and I signaled to him, and he took exception. I have no business making any gesture or saying anything to a player. That's not on him. That's just stupidity on my part."