“Yeah, it’s hard.”
That was the complete response by Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella when asked what it was like for the season to end the way it did.
The season ended with the Washingon Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin scoring twice and Braden Holtby making 35 saves in a 6-3 win over Columbus in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series.
The win inside Nationwide Arena advances Washington into the second round, and sends the Blue Jackets home for the off-season.
“The better team won,” Tortorella said. “They made bigger plays at key times.”
Columbus jumped to a 2-0 series lead with two overtime wins in Washington and looked poised to advance to the second round for the first time in franchise history. But the momentum quickly faded, and after Columbus lost in double-overtime in game 3, it was all downhill. Washington outscored the Jackets 14-7 in the final three games.
In the Monday loss, Nick Foligno had two goals, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored once and Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 22 saves for the Blue Jackets, who lost in the first round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season and fourth time overall. They remain the only active NHL franchise never to win a playoff series.
The Capitals will next face Pittsburgh in the second round of the playoffs for a third straight year. The Penguins won each of the last two years on the way to winning consecutive Stanley Cup championships.