Holtby, Cap­i­tals hold off Blue Jack­ets

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY MITCH STACY

COLUM­BUS, OHIO | Braden Holtby stopped 35 shots, An­dre Bu­rakovsky had a goal and an as­sist and the Washington Cap­i­tals held on for a 3-2 win over the Colum­bus Blue Jack­ets on Sun­day night.

T.J. Oshie and Matt Niska­nen also scored for the Cap­i­tals, who im­proved to 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. Washington, with a league-best 112 points, leads Pitts­burgh by five points in the Metropoli­tan Di­vi­sion. The Blue Jack­ets are an­other point back in third.

Holtby’s 41st win of the sea­son also tied him with his Blue Jack­ets coun­ter­part Sergei Bo­brovsky for best in the league.

Bo­brovsky fin­ished with 27 saves, and Jack John­son and Kyle Quincey scored in the third pe­riod for Colum­bus, which has lost three straight games for the first time this sea­son.

The loss was es­pe­cially un­timely for Colum­bus as it tus­sles with Pitts­burgh for sec­ond place and home-ice ad­van­tage in their likely first-round play­off series. The Blue Jack­ets visit the Pen­guins on Tues­day.

After a score­less first pe­riod in which Washington out­shot Colum­bus 11-8, Oshie got his 33rd goal of the sea­son 1:12 into the sec­ond pe­riod when he skated in from right cor­ner and flicked a back­hand shot past Bo­brovsky. At 2:56 in, Lars Eller chucked a pass out from be­hind the goal to a wide-open Bu­rakovsky, who scored with a roof shot from 9 feet out to make it 2-0.

Later in the sec­ond pe­riod, an in­ter­cepted pass from Colum­bus’ John­son was picked up by Bu­rakovsky in the Blue Jack­ets zone. On a two-on-two rush, Bu­rakovsky put a pass right on the stick of Niska­nen, who slammed it in from the slot. It was his first goal in 32 games.

John­son atoned for his ear­lier mis­take when he beat Holtby and put the Blue Jack­ets on the score­board 9:22 into the third pe­riod. That raised the en­ergy level in sold-out Na­tion­wide Arena, which got even louder when Quincey’s wris­ter through traf­fic found the back of the net with 4:27 left in the game. How­ever, Holtby held tight, and the Blue Jack­ets couldn’t get the equal­izer.

Washington next plays at Toronto on Tues­day night. Colum­bus trav­els to Metropoli­tan Di­vi­sion-ri­val Pitts­burgh on Tues­day night.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Cap­i­tals’ An­dre Bu­rakovsky (left) and Brett Con­nolly cel­e­brate a goal in the sec­ond pe­riod of a 3-2 win on Sun­day.

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