COLUMBUS -- Lars Eller scored 9:00 into the second overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 3-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday.
The Capitals trail the best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 here Thursday. Columbus won each of the first two games in overtime in Washington.
Eller was at the crease for a rebound of a shot by Brett Connolly, and his shot went off Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski.
[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Blue Jackets highlights | Complete Capitals vs. Blue Jackets series coverage]
"It was a real ugly OT winner goal. I had a feeling it was going be one of those," Eller said. "It doesn't make the win less sweet."
Artemi Panarin scored for Columbus 4:12 into the third period to tie it 2-2. It is the sixth time an NHL playoff series started with three consecutive overtime games.
"We'll be fine," Werenski said after the longest game in Blue Jackets history. "It's a seven-game series. We're not going to win or lose it in one game."
Braden Holtby, in his first start of the series, made 33 saves for Washington. Tom Wilson and John Carlson scored for the Capitals.
"It puts us right back in the series," Holtby said. "I thought we held our composure really well in the overtimes. We didn't cheat. We stuck to our systems and got a gritty goal to win it. It's a good sign."
Video: Dunkin Donuts Breakaways: Holtby Denies Calvert
Panarin, who hit the post with 1:15 left in the third period, also had an assist. Pierre-Luc Dubois scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 42 saves for Columbus.
The Capitals took a 1-0 lead when Wilson scored at 5:52 of the second period, and thought they added to it 2:17 later, but Brett Connolly's goal was challenged and it was ruled he was offside.
Wilson scored with a redirection of a shot by Matt Niskanen to give Washington the first goal in all three games.
Dubois made it 1-1 at 11:18 of the second period with his first NHL playoff goal.
Washington needed 28 seconds of a two-man advantage to make it 2-1 at 14:43. Carlson scored his first goal, his seventh point of the series, with a shot from the top of the left circle after a pass from Nicklas Backstrom. Alex Ovechkin, playing his 100th Stanley Cup Playoff game, had an assist.
Panarin broke out on a two-man rush with Cam Atkinson and one-timed a pass at the lower left circle for his second goal of the series after he won Game 1 in overtime.
The Capitals killed a Blue Jackets power play in the first overtime after Carlson tripped Werenski at 15:42. Atkinson hit the crossbar, the fourth time the Blue Jackets hit a post.
Video: WSH@CBJ, Gm3: Dubois rips a shot past Holtby
Goal of the game
Eller's goal at 9:00 of the second overtime.
Video: WSH@CBJ, Gm3: Eller wins it in double overtime
Save of the game
Holtby's save on Panarin at 12:07 of the third period.
Video: WSH@CBJ, Gm3: Holtby turns away Panarin's chance
Highlight of the game
Panarin's goal at 4:12 of the third period.
Video: WSH@CBJ, Gm3: Panarin finishes off give-and-go
They said it
"It hit me. Hit him. Hit me. Hit him. Hit me. It hit us like four times and went in. Just a bad bounce." -- Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski on Lars Eller's game-winning goal
"We're fortunate the puck went in for us. We got a bounce. We got some good fortune but we also executed. We had a complete effort, and they did on their side." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz
"I'm not to pick apart the team. I thought we played better than the last game. We won the last game. It's the NHL. It's playoff hockey, it's a strange animal." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella
Need to know
The Capitals have gone to overtime in 12 of their past 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Eight of their past nine first-round games have been decided in overtime. ... Capitals left wing Jakub Vrana played 22:00 replacing Andre Burakovsky (upper body). Burakovsky will not play Game 4. ... Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos played 17:17 and was plus-1 in his Stanley Cup Playoff debut. ... The previous longest Columbus game was 91:10, April 14, 2014, at the Pittsburgh Penguins when Matt Calvert scored for the Blue Jackets in a 4-3 win. ... Tuesday was the largest crowd in Blue Jackets' history (19,337).
Game 4 of Eastern Conference First Round at Nationwide Arena on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; USA, SN, TVAS2, FS-O, NBCSWA)
Video: Capitals top Blue Jackets in double OT to take Game 3
Complete Coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs
Predators vs. Avalanche
Jets vs. Wild
Golden Knights vs. Kings
Ducks vs. Sharks
Lightning vs. Devils
Bruins vs. Maple Leafs
Capitals vs. Blue Jackets
Penguins vs. Flyers