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game recap

Korpisalo makes 37 saves, Blue Jackets defeat Capitals

Atkinson scores twice for Columbus, which ends four-game losing streak; Backstrom has goal, assist in return

by Harvey Valentine / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Atkinson opens the scoring

CBJ@WSH: Atkinson tips Nyquist's shot past Holtby

Cam Atkinson gets good position in front of the net and redirects Gustav Nyquist's shot past Braden Holtby to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead

  • 00:30 •

WASHINGTON -- Joonas Korpisalo made 37 saves, and the Columbus Blue Jackets ended a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 win against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Monday.

Cam Atkinson scored two goals, and Ryan Murray, Riley Nash and Oliver Bjorkstrand also scored for Columbus (12-14-4), which has won five of its past six against the Capitals, including three straight in Washington.

"Like I told the team before the game, we play well in this building. We have," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We get a lead, we get a couple of puck bounces, a little bit puck luck. The best part of the game tonight, I thought we had some really good sticks, our checking, and we find a way."

 

[WATCH: All Blue Jackets vs. Capitals highlights]

 

Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist in his return after missing eight games because of an upper-body injury for Washington (22-5-5), which had won six straight. Braden Holtby made 33 saves.

"We've been so consistent for so many games that at some point you're going to have something that you don't [like]. We don't like [this] game," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. "It didn't go the way we wanted. We didn't execute. There was a number of different things that we weren't sharp [at]."

Atkinson gave the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead at 3:27 of the first period when he redirected a centering pass by Gustav Nyquist.

Columbus outshot Washington 20-6 in the first period.

"We were lucky it was only a 1-0 game because of the way [Holtby] played," Capitals forward Carl Hagelin said. "We started getting better and better as the game went on, but it wasn't enough."

Murray extended the lead to 2-0 at 6:52 of the second period. Eric Robinson won a puck battle along the left boards and sent a backhand pass to Murray, who scored on a one-timer from in front over the shoulder of Holtby.

Video: CBJ@WSH: Murray pots one-timer from point-blank range

Korpisalo made 31 saves over the final two periods, including helping Columbus kill off two power plays for Washington.

"He keeps us in the game. We need him to be one of our best players, if not our best, against obviously that team," Atkinson said of Korpisalo. "Especially on the power play as well, he made some huge saves and it gives us a lot of momentum on the bench."

Alex Ovechkin scored 40 seconds into the third period to cut it to 2-1. Dmitry Orlov's shot from the point was blocked in front, but Ovechkin collected the rebound and scored on a backhand for his 21st goal.

Video: CBJ@WSH: Ovechkin backhands rebound past McElhinney

Nash made it 3-1 at 6:53, getting his own rebound below the goal line and banking a shot off Holtby.

"A quick little turnover behind and I didn't really know what the pass options were, and I was trying to keep my edges available for anywhere I had to go, and he shot it," Holtby said.

Bjorkstrand pushed the lead to 4-1 at 10:37 when Sonny Milano's saucer pass redirected in off his body.

"Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you get unlucky. I've been unlucky for a while now, but I was fortunate to get a bounce there," Bjorkstrand said. "I think Sonny just tried to lay it in there and try to hope for a bounce and it hit me. So it's nice."

Video: CBJ@WSH: Bjorkstrand redirects shot past Holtby

With Holtby pulled for the extra skater, Backstrom scored on a rebound of Ovechkin's initial shot to make it 4-2 at 17:54, but Atkinson scored into an empty net 18 seconds later for the 5-2 final.

 

They said it

"I think right from the start of the game we got momentum with a big goal and kind of put our foot on the gas pedal. They're obviously, I think, the best team in the League right now, so we knew that they were going to give a little pushback in the second period. We just found a way to stick with it and [Korpisalo] made some huge saves for us." -- Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson

"There's a lot of parity in the League. You've got to be on top of your game or you're susceptible to ending up on the wrong end of things. We've been really consistent obviously through 30-plus games of doing that. Tonight, we weren't. Had a bad start to the game (and) it cost us." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden

 

Need to know

Tortorella tied Darryl Sutter for 15th in the NHL history with 634 wins. … Capitals equipment manager Craig "Woody" Leydig worked his 2,500th NHL game.

 

What's next

Blue Jackets: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ATTSN-PT, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Capitals: Host the Boston Bruins on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET: NBCSN, TVAS)

Video: Atkinson scores twice as Blue Jackets beat Caps, 5-2

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