COLUMBUS, Ohio - Alexander Ovechkin added to his NHL-leading goal total by scoring twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead the Washington Capitals past the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on Tuesday night.
Ovechkin netted a low, hard shot from the right circle 2:28 into the overtime after taking a cross-ice pass from Tom Poti. It was his 45th of the season.
Poti, who tied it with 6:53 left in regulation, and Alexander Semin also had goals for the Capitals, who had been shut out in two of their last three starts.
Washington started the night in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, and just three points behind Southeast Division co-leaders Carolina and Atlanta.
Rick Nash scored two goals - one on a franchise-first three-on-five disadvantage and the other when a referee got tangled with a Washington defender - for the Blue Jackets. Jason Chimera added a goal for Columbus, which is on a season-worst four-game losing skid since the all-star break.
The loss could be particularly costly for the Blue Jackets, involved in their first playoff race. Starting goaltender Pascal Leclaire was run into by two players late in the second period and had to be helped off the ice. He complained of neck pain and did not return.
With the score tied 2-2 early in the third period, Nash was on a mini-break. Just as he crossed the blue line with the puck, defenceman Shaone Morrisonn collided with referee Bill McCreary, effectively taking Morrisonn out of the play. Nash skated around the pileup - McCreary was on top of Morrisonn - and beat Brent Morrison on the stick side for his second of the game and 28th of the season.
Morrisonn slammed his stick to the ice in anger after the goal.
That emotion contrasted with Ovechkin's after he scored the winner. He skated to the corner and leaped into the air and off the glass in a solitary celebration before his teammates could join him.
Ovechkin was making his first appearance in Columbus with the Capitals.
Nash opened the scoring near the end of Washington's lengthy two-man advantage in the first period, smothering Nicklas Backstrom's pass and outracing Backstrom and Ovechkin before beating goaltender Brent Johnson. A Columbus player had never scored on a three-on-five disadvantage in the franchise's first seven years and 547 games.
After Chimera made it 2-0, Ovechkin skated up the left wing to the top of the circle, his hard shot eluding Leclaire.
Leclaire, leading the NHL with eight shutouts, was hurt on a Capitals rush when he was hit hard by teammate Jan Hejda and Capitals left wing Quintin Laing at the 15:22 mark of the second. Laing was assessed a minor penalty for goaltender interference.
Leclaire ended up in the back of the net with both players atop him. He lay on the ice for several minutes before being helped off the ice.
On the first shot Fredrik Norrena faced after replacing Leclaire, Semin scored on a nifty backhander.
Nash's referee-assisted goal made it 3-2 before Poti beat Norrena on a shot inside the near post for his first of the year.
Notes: The Capitals welcomed former first-round pick RW Eric Fehr back with the club for the first time since Feb. 21, 2007, after missing 10 months with a back injury. ... The short-handed goal was Nash's fourth of his career, third this season. ... Washington rookie C Dave Steckel played his first game in Columbus since his collegiate days at Ohio State.