December 10, 2019 / 3:06 AM / a month ago

Blue Jackets stun Capitals, stop losing skid

EditorsNote: rewords second graf, adds to last graf

Dec 9, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) makes a save on Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Josh Anderson (77) in the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Atkinson scored two goals, one early and one late, as the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Washington Capitals 5-2 on Monday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

Atkinson scored the game’s first goal, 3:27 into the first period, and added another one with 1:48 to play to give the Blue Jackets some insurance. Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo wound up with 37 saves as the Capitals turned up the heat in the final two periods.

Washington came into the contest with a six-game winning streak, winning two at home before sweeping a four-game road trip that included stops in Detroit, San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

The Blue Jackets dominated the first period, outshooting Washington 20-6. Columbus controlled most aspects of the game and held a 1-0 lead at the end of the period, as Gustav Nyquist sent the puck toward the net and Atkinson redirected it past goalie Braden Holtby and in for the first goal.

Washington struggled to clear the puck out of its own end for much of the first part of the game. That’s what led to the second Columbus goal, which came in the second period.

The Blue Jackets were again aggressively forechecking below the goal line, and after forcing a turnover, Eric Robinson made a quick pass to Ryan Murray. The left winger then beat Holtby at 6:52 for a 2-0 lead.

It was Robinson’s first career assist.

The Capitals cut the deficit to 2-1 when Alex Ovechkin scored 40 seconds into the third period off a Dmitry Orlov assist. But Columbus answered at 6:53 when Riley Nash scored from a strange angle below the goal line, beating Holtby to the short side for a 3-1 lead.

Oliver Bjorkstrand then made it 4-1 just past midway through the period, giving the Blue Jackets control of the game from there.

Nicklas Backstrom returned to the Washington lineup after missing eight games due to an upper-body injury. He had the second assist on Ovechkin’s goal and scored in the third period to make it 4-2 before Atkinson got his second goal just 18 seconds later into an empty net.

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