The Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — John Tortorella broke from his usual routine after the Columbus Blue Jackets’ streak-breaking clunker on Thursday night.
He felt he had to.
Tortorella walked into the visiting locker room and told his players he was proud of them, even after the Jackets lost 5-0 to the Washington Capitals, ending a 16-game winning streak. Columbus fell one victory shy of the NHL record set by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins as everything that carried them on this captivating run fell apart.
Sergei Bobrovsky allowed five goals on 23 shots, the league-leading power play was held off the scoreboard and Columbus lost for the first time since Nov. 26. Tortorella wasn’t happy about the game but wasn’t upset about the streak coming to an end, either.
“I usually don’t go in the room, win or lose,” Tortorella said. “All year long, I haven’t been in there, but I’d be remiss, like I told them, if I didn’t. That is one hell of a run by a hockey team. They should feel really good about it.”
They may at some point, but not right after reigning Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby stopped all 29 shots, giving Columbus its second shutout defeat of the season. Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said it took an effort like Holtby’s to upend Columbus.
Bobrovsky, who was rock solid in 14 starts during the streak, was chased and replaced by Curtis McElhinney after allowing goals to Daniel Winnik, John Carlson, Nate Schmidt, Andre Burakovsky and Justin Williams.
The Capitals extended their winning streak to four and moved within five points of the Blue Jackets for the top spot in the ultra-competitive Metropolitan Division. They were eager to curb Columbus’ run, with Burakovsky saying earlier Thursday, “It’s going to be a really fun moment for us to end it.” A fan at the game held a sign that read, “Hey Blue Jackets, streaking is not allowed in here.”Speech