Capitals beat Blue Jackets, 5-3
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Alex Ovechkin added to his NHL-leading total with two goals Tuesday night, leading the charge in a 5-3 victory over the Blue Jackets, Columbus’ seventh loss in a row.
Eric Fehr and Tom Wilson also scored, and Marcus Johansson added an empty-net goal.
Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Chimera each had two assists for the Capitals, who solidified their hold on the first wild-card playoff spot in the East before starting a five-game homestand. Braden Holtby had 27 saves.
Ovechkin, who has won the Richard Trophy as the league’s goal-scoring leader the last two years and four times overall, now has 43.
Scott Hartnell had two goals and an assist — and was stopped on a penalty shot — while David Savard also scored for the Blue Jackets, 0-6-1 in their last seven.
Sergei Bobrovsky started in goal for Columbus, making his first appearance in 18 games since sustaining a groin injury on Jan. 21. He had 27 saves.
Up 3-2 heading into the final period, the Capitals expanded the lead on Ovechkin’s one-timer from the left dot on the power play. He was wide with an identical shot just seconds before.
Columbus cut the advantage to 4-3 on Hartnell’s second of the night mark off a backhanded feed from Nick Foligno.
Holtby made several stellar saves to preserve the lead, stopping Mark Letestu point blank and making a kick save on Marko Dano.
Johansson was called for a delay of game penalty with 2:17 left, with Columbus pulling Bobrovsky. But Holtby blocked a shot by Cam Atkinson with 32 seconds left before Johansson got the puck coming out of the box and scored the empty-netter.
The Capitals dominated the opening period. Ovechkin scored his 42nd on a redirect off a pass from Brooks Orpik. Ovechkin also came in tied for the top spot in points with 65.
Fehr made it 2-0 late in the period. Tim Gleason, playing his second game for the Capitals since his trade from Carolina, shot from near the left point. Fehr tried to redirect the shot, but when it rebounded off Bobrovsky he was there to clean it up with three Blue Jackets standing nearby.
Savard cut the lead in half early in the second period, converting with a high slap shot that hit a stick. But 48 seconds later, Bobrovsky came out of the crease to stop Jason Chimera on a rush, no one was helping him out, and Wilson jammed in the rebound.
Hartnell was tackled from behind by Mike Green on a break, leading to a penalty shot that Holtby gloved.
Columbus cut the lead again when Jack Johnson’s slap shot from the blue line at the left boards was redirected by Hartnell for his 15th.
There were four fights and several scrums during the period. Blue Jackets rookie Dano had a chance to tie it late on a rush but Holtby denied him.
Notes: C Brooks Laich was a healthy scratch for Washington. … Atkinson played in his 200th NHL game for Columbus, while RW Joel Ward saw action in his 500th for the Capitals. … Two players also debuted for the teams: LW Curtis Glencross, a former Blue Jacket, played his first game for Washington after his trade from Calgary. D Justin Falk, acquired from Minnesota, made his first appearance for the Blue Jackets. … Columbus sagged to 12-18-2 at home.