WASHINGTON (AP) — Hobbled by injuries and illness, the Columbus Blue Jackets got to overtime against the NHL’s best team, but didn’t have enough to keep their winning streak going.
The Washington Capitals got 27 saves by rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov and an overtime power-play goal from T.J. Oshie to beat Columbus 2-1 Friday night and snap the Blue Jackets’ win streak at five. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 34 of the 36 shots he faced to keep the Blue Jackets in it before a late penalty proved costly.
“It stings a little bit,” Columbus captain Nick Foligno said. “We did so many good things to win that hockey game. Worked for each other. That’s a big part of our success right now. We’re working hard and guys are pitching in.”
Rookie Jakob Lilja scored his first NHL goal and came back after a big hit from Tom Wilson to help the Blue Jackets extend their point streak to nine games. They’re 6-0-3 in that stretch despite missing more than a half-dozen regulars.
“It’s a team that has a little bit of belief in it as far as all the new bodies,” coach John Tortorella said. “I’m going to look at the good things. I thought we played hard. It’s a team that’s a team. I think that’s the only way you can survive some of the things that have gone on with our personnel.”
The Capitals won without top-four defenseman Michal Kempny, who was out sick. Bouncing back from a 7-3 defeat in Boston before the break, they remained the only team in the league not to lose back-to-back games in regulation.
“We knew every time when we lost a game or something that happened, we have to regroup and go back and bounce back,” said captain Alex Ovechkin, who picked up the secondary assist on Oshie’s goal. “It was not a pretty game, but we’ll take the points.”
Scoring 3:13 into overtime with Blue Jackets forward Nathan Gerbe in the penalty box for hooking, Oshie ended Washington’s 0 for 19 power-play drought.
“When push comes to shove and 4-on-3, you need a goal from your power play then,” coach Todd Reirden said. “That one meant a lot. Yeah, we would’ve liked to have had one earlier, but when it comes to deciding the game, those are the guys that decided it.”
Third-liner Carl Hagelin scored his first goal of the season to tie it in the third period. Samsonov was strong in his first career start against the Blue Jackets, which came with mom Natalia in attendance.
“It’s special, for sure,” Samsonov said. “Whole team really play good today. It was my mom’s first time watching my game live. Awesome team win. It’s a really hard game after Christmas break.”
Ovechkin revealed afterward he’d be skipping NHL All-Star Weekend for the second consecutive season. The Russian winger said it was a hard decision but he needs to listen to his body at age 34.
“You don’t have extra days off during the year, but you have to take what you have to take,” Ovechkin said. “If I was 21, yeah, I’m healthy, I’m good, but I have to think about the second half of the year and the playoffs. That’s the most important thing for me and for this organization, as well.”
NOTES: With Kempny out, Capitals D Christian Djoos made his season debut. … Blue Jackets D Scott Harrington was out sick and didn’t make the trip with the team. … The Blue Jackets were playing without seven injured regulars. … With an assist on Lilja’s goal, rookie Ryan MacInnis picked up his first NHL point.
Blue Jackets: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
Capitals: Visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday with Braden Holtby expected to start in goal.
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