A roller coaster ride in the final minutes of regulation had a sour ending for the Jackets once the train returned to the station.
Down 2-1 in the third period - courtesy of a wicked bounce behind the net that left Sergei Bobrovsky helplessly to watch - the Blue Jackets rallied to tie things up on a puck that re-directed in off Jared Boll's back side just past the midway mark of the third period. A gritty goal? Check. A goal produced by going to the "tough areas" of the ice? Check; it was exactly what coach Todd Richards has been preaching over the last few weeks and it paid off in a huge tying goal for the Jackets, who would go ahead later in the proceedings.
Brandon Dubinsky chipped the puck out of the zone and it bounced over the stick of a Capitals defenseman, and by the time the defense could recover, Cam Atkinson was in behind and had a clean look at Braden Holtby. One deke to the forehand and a shot between the legs was all it took to give the Blue Jackets a lead late on the road, but the Capitals - a team that had won four straight at home coming into the game - weren't going to go away quietly.
A broken stick and a bad break in the Jackets' defensive zone allowed Washington to tie the game with 1:45 left in regulation. James Wisniewski blocked a shot but lost the puck, and Mikhail Grabovski whipped his 100th career goal over the shoulder of Bobrovsky to even things up.
The Capitals, who had renewed life after the 3-3 goal, weren't done yet.
Marcus Johansson slipped a check down the left wall in the first 90 seconds of overtime and was able to walk in front of the Columbus net. His first shot - a weak backhander along the ice - was stopped by Bobrovsky by the Jackets left the wrong guy undetected. Alex Ovechkin, who had been fairly quiet by his standards in this game, made his presence felt by scoring the overtime winner - his 14th of the season - and the Jackets were forced to settle with a single point when they probably should have left with two.
Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said Atkinson's go-ahead goal upset his team and they put on a furious push in the final minutes before tying the game. It was all Washington in the minutes following the Atkinson tally and the momentum from Grabovski's goal carried over into the extra session.
1. ALEX OVECHKIN (WSH)
Pretty uneventful evening for the Capitals' captain tonight, but the game-winning goal in overtime was enough to earn him No. 1 star honors.
2. BRANDON DUBINSKY (CBJ)
He wasn't named one of the game's stars on the official scoresheet, but we're giving one to No. 17 because he was the best forward on the ice for either side. He opened the scoring with a beautiful shorthanded goal, assisted on the go-ahead goal, was the go-to guy in all situations for the Jackets.
3. MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI (WSH)
He scored arguably the biggest goal of the game - aside from the Atkinson goal - to bring Washington back to life in what had been a rather tame third period for the home team.
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