Instant analysis of the Capitals 5-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday night at Nationwide Arena:
How it happened: Philipp Grubauer’s rookie bubble had to burst at some point and came against the Jackets when he allowed three goals on 14 shots and was pulled for the first time in his NHL career 1:41 into the second period in favor of Braden Holtby. Two of the Jackets’ five goals came on power plays, while the Caps went 0-for-4 on the man-advantage.
What it means: The Caps have lost four in a row [0-2-2] for the first time since late November when they went 0-3-1 against the Penguins, Canadiens, Leafs and Senators. They also wasted an opportunity to take sole possession of second place in the Metropolitan Division. Instead, the Caps remain in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the Bleu Jackets.
Penalty trouble: Penalties have been a problem for the Caps all season and they hurt them again Friday night. Rookie Tom Wilson drew a charging penalty on Corey Tropp midway through the first period but retaliated with a roughing penalty. Less than a minute later a tripping penalty to John Carlson led to the Blue Jackets’ first goal. With the Capitals trailing 3-1, a holding penalty to Mike Green in the final minute of the second period led to Columbus’ fourth goal of the night by Mark Letestu, which essentially sealed the deal.
[WATCH: Physical play for Caps in Columbus]
Second pairing trouble: The defense pairing of Green and Dmitry Orlov was on the ice for the two even-strength goals that gave Columbus a 3-0 lead.
Goalie roulette: Holtby stopped 20 of 22 shots in relief of Grubauer. It will be interesting to see of he gets the call Sunday night in New York when the Capitals visit the Rangers at 7:30 p.m.
Killer Connor: Rookie defenseman Connor Carrick got into his first NHL fight when he went at it with Blue Jackets Matt Calvert.
Inside the box score: Alex Ovechkin had seven shots on goal, four more blocked and one miss the net. Left wing Marty Erat logged 14:43 of ice time and his assist on John Carlson’s goal was the 500th of his NHL career. Ovechkin, Green and Orlov were each a minus-2.