Blue Jackets beat Capitals 3-2 in overtime
WASHINGTON (AP) The game wasn't four minutes old when Columbus fell behind the Washington Capitals for the first time. After making up that deficit, the Blue Jackets found themselves trailing again with just under 11 minutes remaining.
Earlier this season, Columbus might have quit. Much has changed since then.
Nick Foligno scored a power-play goal at 4:41 of overtime, Sergei Bobrovsky had 39 saves, and the Blue Jackets beat Washington 3-2 on Thursday night for their fifth straight victory.
With Jason Chimera in the penalty box for interference, Foligno put a slap shot from the right circle past goalie Braden Holtby to give Columbus its only lead.
It was Foligno's second goal of the game and team-high 13th of the season. Kevin Connauton also scored for Columbus.
The Blue Jackets are still only 11-15-2, but coach Todd Richards has noticed a vast improvement in their play - and attitude - recently.
''When things weren't going well for us, we didn't respond the right way,'' Richards said. ''So a positive sign about tonight is that despite being down 1-0 and 2-1, the guys stuck with it. We got some saves when we needed it, but the guys stuck with it.''
Washington finished with a 41-23 advantage in shots, but Bobrovsky was the equalizer.
''It's huge when a goalie is playing that well. It gives us an opportunity to win hockey games,'' Connauton said. ''It's motivating, too.''
Bobrovsky kept the Capitals at bay until Foligno lined up the decisive goal in overtime.
''You're fortunate to get a power play in OT and you want to make the most of it,'' he said. ''The play just kind of developed itself and I was able to get a good shot off.''
Eric Fehr and Troy Brouwer had goals for the Capitals, whose three-game winning streak ended. Alex Ovechkin took nine shots on goal, but Bobrovsky snuffed every one.
''There were a couple of shots Ovie took, and those are goals most nights,'' coach Barry Trotz said. ''Against the best in the business, Bobrovsky, they weren't. He was pretty tight tonight.''
After Brouwer deflected a shot by Matt Niskanen to put Washington up 2-1 at 9:20 of the third period, Columbus pulled even at 10:59 on a goal by Connauton.
Earlier in the period, Holtby kept the game tied when he snapped his glove shut around a close-in shot by Cam Atkinson.
The score was knotted at 1 in the second when Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski was called for slashing and roughing after using his stick to floor Washington's Tom Wilson in front of the Columbus net.
Given four minutes with the extra man, the NHL's second-ranked, power-play unit took seven shots on goal but couldn't break the deadlock.
''We were in the zone for over two minutes before a whistle went,'' Brouwer said. ''I think our execution was good. Bobrovsky was just playing really well.''
The Capitals outshot Columbus 28-10 over the first two periods, but at that point each team scored only once.
Washington went up 1-0 when Fehr deflected a shot by John Carlson past Bobrovsky for a power-play goal at 3:19 of the first period. It was the fourth straight game in which the Capitals scored in the opening four minutes, and the first time in five games Columbus failed to strike first.
The Blue Jackets managed only one shot over the first 15 minutes, but their third - a wrist shot by Foligno at 15:36 - found the back of the net.
Washington went 14 minutes without a shot before Ovechkin tapped a weak attempt toward Bobrovsky at 9:17 of the second period.
NOTES: Capitals D Mike Green returned after missing seven games with an upper body injury. ... Columbus C Brandon Dubinsky played in his 500th NHL game. ... Blue Jackets C Boone Jenner's career-high, four-game goal-scoring streak ended. ... Washington lost for the first time in six games when scoring in the first five minutes.