For the first time in this season’s playoffs, overtime was unkind to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Washington Capitals’ Lars Eller tapped a rebound shot past goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in the second overtime period to give them a 3-2 win in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.
Washington’s win inside Nationwide Arena followed Columbus winning the first two games - both in overtime - in Washington. It was the Capitals' turn to prevail in OT, this time on the Blue Jackets' home ice, to pull to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Columbus head coach John Tortorella says it’s been “a hell of a series.”
“I’m not going to pick apart the team,” Tortorella told reporters after the game. “I think we played better tonight than we played the last game, and we won the last game. NHL and playoff hockey is a strange animal. But we’ll be ready to play our next game. No one’s down on our club. We’re happy about how we went about our business (but) didn’t find a way to win it tonight.”
Tom Wilson and John Carlson also scored, and Braden Holtby stopped 33 shots for the Capitals, who were in danger of falling into a nearly-insurmountable hole had they let the game slip away.
Game 4 is Thursday night in Columbus, with Game 5 set for Washington on Saturday.
Pierre-Luc Dubois and Artemi Panarin scored for Columbus, and Bobrovsky finished with 42 saves after getting 54 in the Game 2 on Sunday.
Panarin knotted the score 4:12 into the third after he and Cam Atkinson went back and forth with pinpoint passes before he swiped it past Holtby from the left circle.
That's the way it stayed until the second overtime.
After a scoreless first period, Wilson got credit for the first Washington goal when he deflected Matt Niskanen's rising shot 5:52 into the second. The Blue Jackets got a break two minutes later when a goal by the Capitals' Brett Connolly was waved off after a video replay showed he was offside bringing the puck down the ice.
Dubois tied it with 8:42 left in the second when he rifled a shot past Holtby's glove from the right circle.
Later in the period, with Columbus' Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Murray both in the penalty box for slashing, Carlson connected with 5:17 left on a one-timer 28 seconds into the 5-on-3.
The Capitals have outshot the Blue Jackets 133-92 through the first three games.