April 18, 2018 / 3:50 AM / 10 months ago

Capitals' 2OT win cuts into Jackets' series lead

EditorsNote: Edit 1: Clarified headline, cleared up syntax

Lars Eller scored 8:59 into the second overtime, giving the visiting Washington Capitals a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.

The Blue Jackets still have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 will be on Thursday night in Columbus, and the Tuesday result ensures that the series will return to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday.

The decisive goal came on a wacky play where the puck appeared to hit off of Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski at the crease, then bang off the foot of Eller near the right post and then past goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

Braden Holtby got his first start of the series in goal for the Capitals after Philipp Grubauer’s strong late-season play earned him the start for Games 1 and 2. Holtby came on in the third period of Game 2 and played well, then turned in a strong performance in Game 3, making 33 saves.

For the third consecutive game, Washington took the lead first — although not as early this time. The Capitals needed to get into the second period before going ahead 1-0. Tom Wilson deflected a Matt Niskanen shot past Bobrovsky (42 saves) at 5:52.

The Capitals appeared to go ahead 2-0 on a Brett Connolly goal a few minutes later, but the officials waved it off, saying Washington was offside on the play.

That opened the door for Columbus’ Pierre-Luc Dubois to tie the game on a high shot with 8:42 left in the second period.

The Capitals took the lead back on a John Carlson power-play goal with 5:17 left in the middle period. He took a cross-ice pass from Nicklas Backstrom while Washington had a two-man advantage, and he rifled a shot past Bobrovsky from the left side.

Alex Ovechkin assisted on both of Washington’s second-period goals.

Artemi Panarin tied it at 2-2 for the Blue Jackets at 4:12 of the third period after a nice pass from Cam Atkinson at the end of a two-on-one.

—Field Level Media

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