COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Cam Atkinson and Fedor Tyutin each had a goal and an assist, and Curtis McElhinney made 25 saves to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.
Mark Letestu and Ryan Johansen also scored, and Nick Foligno, captain of one of the teams in Sunday’s NHL All-Star game played on the Blue Jackets’ home ice, had two assists. Johansen was the All-Star MVP.
McElhinney, starting in place of top goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who will miss four to six weeks with a groin injury, made several big saves down the stretch.
Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist, and Andre Burakovsky and Troy Brouwer also scored for the Capitals, who have lost four in a row (0-3-1). Braden Holtby made 26 saves and Matt Niskanen had two assists.
With the Blue Jackets up 3-2 heading into the third period, Atkinson ended up with a loose puck in the high slot and wristed a hard shot past Holtby high on the stick side for his ninth at the 5:20 mark.
As they had done the last three times the Blue Jackets scored, the Capitals countered with a goal of their own. Marcus Johansson’s shot from the left wing was blocked by McElhinney, but Kuznetsov was there in the slot, going down to one knee to fire in the rebound. It was his fifth of the season and came with 7:51 remaining in regulation.
Only 2 minutes later, Atkinson stole a pass and ripped a hard shot that hit the post.
Holtby made two terrific saves — one against Johansen point blank in the crease and the other on James Wisniewski on a late power play — to keep Washington within a goal.
Letestu got his fifth goal from between the hashmarks after a feed from Corey Tropp at 3:45 of the second after a scoreless first period.
Johansen made it 2-0 with a wicked one-timer off a no-look, cross-ice pass from Kevin Connauton. It was Johansen’s 18th of the season. But Washington responded 33 seconds later when Burakovsky tipped Niskanen’s shot from the blue line to cut the lead in half.
In the final minute of the period, Tyutin pushed the lead back to two with a hard slap shot just inside the offensive zone after his defensive partner, Dalton Prout, got a stick on the puck to keep the play alive before it crossed the blue line.
Just 36 seconds later, however, Brouwer redirected another shot by Niskanen to cut the lead to 3-2 heading into the third.
Alex Ovechkin squeezed off four shots in the opening period, although it seemed like more. He was continually wide open on a late power play, missing wide with a somewhat open net and also having a shot blocked and another getting through to McElhinney, who made the save.
NOTES: Ovechkin spent six days in a row in Columbus, sticking around after Sunday’s All-Star game to meet the rest of the Capitals when they arrived on Monday. … Like a lot of snowbirds, the Blue Jackets are heading to Florida. They’ll play the Panthers and Lightning on Thursday and Saturday before returning home. … Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom got his 400th career assist on Burakovsky’s goal. He hurt his hand in the third and went to the dressing room, but returned after missing a couple of shifts. … The Capitals host Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. … Johansen has points in his last nine home games. His two assists gave him 250 points in his NHL career.
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