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game recap

Capitals maintain lead in Metropolitan Division

Defeat Blue Jackets in shootout, hold on to first in NHL

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals maintained their lead in the Metropolitan Division with a 2-1 shootout win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Verizon Center on Thursday. 

Braden Holtby made three saves in the shootout for Washington (48-17-8), which leads the NHL with 104 points, three more than Columbus (47-19-7). 

"[Holtby] was the guy, and that was great," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "That extra point might be huge. It might be absolutely huge. That was what I liked, that there was no panic and they were calm. We just sort of kept pounding the rock and sooner or later we broke through, which I think was justice. Every win right now is huge. And we'll see. Right now, it's about finishing as high as we can in this division, so you can give yourself every advantage."

 

WATCH: All Capitals vs. Blue Jackets highlights

 

T.J. Oshie scored in the shootout, Dmitry Orlov scored the tying goal 6:39 into the third period, and Holtby made 29 saves for Washington, which leads the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins by two points. Pittsburgh lost 2-1 in a shootout to the Ottawa Senators.

Sergei Bobrovsky made a season-high 44 saves, and Seth Jones scored 41 seconds into the third period for Columbus. 

"We're a couple of teams that have 100 points already," Jones said. "We're two of those three teams and it's for a reason. We've played phenomenal this year, so have they, but now it's time to really gear down and start getting in that [Stanley Cup Playoff] mode with nine games left here. So we both understand that, we both knew what this game meant standings-wise, and I thought we both played hard."

Video: CBJ@WSH: Holtby stops Dubinsky's backhand on a break

Bobrovsky stopped Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov a little less than four minutes into the first period on Washington's first scoring chance. 

The Capitals had several scoring chances and three power plays in the second period. Holtby stopped Brandon Dubinsky on a breakaway after he exited the penalty box late in the period. 

Jones made it 1-0 with his first goal since Feb. 7, 11th of the season. Orlov tied it 1-1 with his sixth of the season.

 

Goal of the game

Orlov took a pass from Marcus Johansson and his slap shot beat Bobrovsky on the glove side.

Video: CBJ@WSH: Orlov nets scorching slapper through traffic

 

Save of the game

Holtby sprawled to stop Boone Jenner in the second period. 

Video: CBJ@WSH: Holtby makes a spectacular sprawling save

 

Highlight of the game

Jones scored over a prone Holtby on a broken play. 

Video: CBJ@WSH: Jones fires rebound past diving Holtby

 

Unsung moment of the game

Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen checked Alexander Wennberg in overtime as he tried to come in alone on Holtby.

 

They said it

"It's a great opponent. I think they played us tough this year and we still kind of owed it to them a little bit for the first two games. We let them come back in it and take things over. You never know what's going to happen, so you've got to always play hard and try to gain the upper hand no matter if we play them, if we don't, whatever it works out to be." -- Capitals defenseman John Carlson on a possible playoff series with the Blue Jackets

 

"My original plan wasn't to go five-hole and just thought I saw something and kind of made a decision and found the back of the net. Felt pretty fortunate. Luckily that's the only one we needed because [Holtby] shut the door on the other end. I just look for something and try it. I've been practicing shootouts since I was, I don't know, 10? That's 20 years of working on something. I saw something tonight and went for it and found the back of the net." -- Capitals forward T.J. Oshie

Video: CBJ@WSH: Oshie scores the winner in the shootout

 

"Well, it is what it is. Everybody works hard. Everybody gave what they've got. I don't think someone hid or backed off and wanted to make mistakes. I thought everybody worked hard. They still blocked shots. They made the key plays, smart plays. It is what is. Today that's the result and we'll move on." -- Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky

 

Need to know

Washington tied its record with its 30th home win (1985-86, 2009-10). The Capitals are 30-6-2 at home this season. … Jones scored his 40th point, marking the first time two Blue Jackets defensemen scored 40 points in a season. Zach Werenski has 47 (11 goals, 36 assists).

 

What's next

Blue Jackets: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN1, CSN-PH, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Capitals: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-A, CSN-DC+, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Oshie, Capitals defeat Blue Jackets in shootout, 2-1

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