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Foligno lifts Blue Jackets past Capitals for 5th in row

by Adam Vingan

WASHINGTON -- Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 39 saves, including 17 on 18 power-play shots, in a 3-2 overtime victory against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Thursday.

"It's huge when a goalie's playing that well," said Blue Jackets defenseman Kevin Connauton, who scored the tying goal in the third period. "That gives us an opportunity to win hockey games. It's motivating too. You see him working as hard as he can to make some of those big saves for us and it pushes you to work harder because you want to eliminate those scoring chances against. You want to do everything you can to help him out."

Nick Foligno scored twice, including the game-winner with 19 seconds remaining in overtime, for the Blue Jackets (11-15-2), who won their fifth straight.

"That's one of the growing processes we have to go through," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "When things weren't going well for us [earlier in the season] we didn't respond the right way. 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."

Eric Fehr and Troy Brouwer scored for Washington (13-10-5), which had a three-game winning streak end. Braden Holtby made 20 saves.

The game entered the third period tied 1-1 after Bobrovsky stopped 27 of 28 shots and his teammates managed 10.

"It's what he's supposed to do," Brouwer said of Bobrovsky. "There's a reason why he was a Vezina [Trophy] winner two years ago. He held their team in. I thought we had a lot of good opportunities, a lot of really good looks and we just couldn't get any more by him. He won that game for them tonight. He kept them in the game and gave them an opportunity to win tonight."

A Brandon Dubinsky holding penalty and a Blue Jackets bench minor for too many men on the ice gave the Capitals a two-man advantage for 1:06 a little more than two minutes into the game. Dubinsky attempted to race back into the play after his penalty expired, but before he could get there, Capitals defenseman John Carlson took a wrist shot that Fehr deflected past Bobrovsky at 3:19.

Washington has scored the first goal in each of its past four games within the first four minutes.

The Capitals received another power play shortly after Fehr's goal at 4:27, but Bobrovsky turned away six more shots.

The Blue Jackets did not register their second shot on goal until 4:33 remained in the period, but scored on their third 9 seconds later, Foligno's 12th goal of the season from the high slot.

After allowing 13 of the first 14 shots on goal, the Blue Jackets took the next nine, holding the Capitals without one during a 15-minute span that stretched until midway through the second period. A four-minute power play for the Capitals, earned after James Wisniewski was whistled for slashing and roughing Tom Wilson at 12:13, tested the Blue Jackets again, but Bobrovsky made seven saves.

"I was so proud of our penalty kill, and that's a [heck] of a power play over there," Foligno said. "We gained momentum from it when we killed them off, big four-minute power play that we killed off. We did a lot of good things in the game. We stuck to our guns."

Washington's power play, which entered the game ranked second in the NHL at 28.8 percent, finished 1-for-6 with 10:06 of total time.

"Beside score, I think we executed a lot of things that we like to do on the power play," Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "Shots, second chances, one-timers, lots of them. And there were pucks around the net too, so created off that. Couldn't bury one today."

Brouwer gave Washington a 2-1 lead at 9:20 of the third period, tipping in Niskanen's point shot. Connauton tied the game 1:39 later with a one-timer from the right point.

In overtime, Capitals forward Jason Chimera took an interference penalty at 3:03, setting up Foligno's game-winning goal from the right circle.

"You're fortunate to get a power play sometimes in [overtime] and you want to make the most of it and not rush things," Foligno said. "The play just kind of developed itself and I was able to get a good shot off."

Washington defenseman Mike Green, who returned to the lineup after missing seven games with an upper-body injury, skated 17:58.

The Capitals host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Columbus plays the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"That [win is] huge. That's definitely huge, but [we're] already past it," Bobrovsky said. "We've got lots of work ahead of us to keep us in the playoffs so we can't be satisfied with [five straight wins]."

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