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game recap

Capitals move closer to securing Presidents' Trophy

Hand Blue Jackets third straight loss to increase lead atop NHL standings

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The Washington Capitals extended their lead for the Presidents' Trophy and in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Sunday.

The Capitals (52-18-8) lead the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks by five points for first place in the NHL.

"Home ice throughout the [Stanley Cup Playoffs] is important," Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie said. "Whoever we match up with, it's going to be a battle but we want to finish in that top spot and we want to finish playing well."

 

WATCH: All Capitals vs. Blue Jackets highlights

 

The Blue Jackets (49-21-8), who lost their third straight, trail the Penguins by one point for second place in the division with four games remaining. Pittsburgh defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Sunday.

Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said a stretch of games against Chicago on Friday, Washington and finishing Tuesday at Pittsburgh will prepare the Blue Jackets for the playoffs.

"It's great to have those games in the regular season because that's what we're going to face in the playoffs," he said.

Video: WSH@CBJ: Burakovsky roofs Eller's spinning feed

Blue Jackets rookie defenseman Zach Werenski left the game early in the third period after being checked by Alex Ovechkin. Columbus coach John Tortorella did not have an update on Werenski after the game.

Andre Burakovsky had a goal and assist, and Oshie and Matt Niskanen also scored for Washington.

Braden Holtby made 35 saves for the Capitals and tied Bobrovsky for the NHL lead with 41 wins. Bobrovsky made 27 saves.

Jack Johnson made it 3-1 at 9:22 of third period with his fifth goal. Kyle Quincey scored from the blue line with 4:27 left to make 3-2.

Oshie and Burakovsky scored 1:44 apart to start the second period for a 2-0 lead. Oshie scored at 1:12 for his 33rd goal.

Burakovsky took a pass from beneath the goal line by Lars Eller and scored his 12th goal inside the near post to make it 2-0 at 2:56.

Video: WSH@CBJ: Johnson scores as Gagner tallies 400th point

The Capitals made it 3-0 at 10:05 when Burakovsky passed to Niskanen for his fifth goal.

 

Goal of the game

Oshie created space with several dekes and put a perfectly placed backhand shot past Bobrovsky. Oshie credited Ovechkin for creating a diversion.

"With [Ovechkin] going down the middle, everyone's going to take him and it opened up everything for me," he said.

Video: WSH@CBJ: Oshie opens scoring with slick backhand

 

Save of the game

Holtby stopped Alexander Wennberg's shot from the high slot then a rebound try by Seth Jones in the final seconds of the game.

 

Unsung performance of the game

Defenseman John Carlson led the Capitals with four blocked shots and 23:41 of ice time, including 2:34 shorthanded to help kill two Blue Jackets power plays.

 

Highlight of the game

Burakovsky had an odd-man rush and found Niskanen open for the Capitals' third goal.

"I heard him screaming for the puck so I looked up real quick and saw he was open and tried to get it to him," Burakovsky said.

Video: WSH@CBJ: Nikskanen beats Bobrovsky on glove side

 

They said it

"The first half of the game we allowed them to dictate their game. For the second half we dictated ours. That's something we talked about before the third period, just play our game. When we started taking it to them they didn't have an answer." -- Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno

 

"We controlled the game for the most part. We had a couple of lapses they capitalized on." -- Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie

 

"The first period they played as a team that played lousy their last game. Some of it was self-inflicted by us with turnovers. The second period, we created 10 scoring chances. We had a lot of odd-man rushes. We just couldn't score." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella

 

"The crowd was pretty quiet all night until they scored the first goal. I mean it was quiet in there." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz

 

Need to know

Washington led 13-12 in hits after the first period but Columbus finished ahead 37-24, including 12-4 in the third period. … Columbus forward Lukas Sedlak did not play because of an upper-body injury sustained Friday at Chicago and was replaced by Lauri Korpikoski. … Blue Jackets forward Sam Gagner's assist on Johnson's goal was his 400th NHL point (142 goals, 258 assists). Gagner also had an assist on Quincey's goal.

 

What's next

Capitals: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN4, CSN-DC, NHL.TV)

Blue Jackets: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ROOT, FS-O, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Three-goal 2nd period leads Caps past Blue Jackets

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