WASHINGTON (AP) — Nicklas Backstrom scored his second goal of the game 11:53 into overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday and a 3-2 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Braden Holtby made 16 of his 39 saves in the third period to help Washington get to overtime. Four of five games between the teams have gone past regulation making fatigue a factor for Game 6 Monday night in Columbus.
Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie scored along with Backstrom in regulation for the Capitals, who became the first home team this series to win a home game. Holtby has been in net for Washington’s three consecutive victories after replacing Philipp Grubauer in Game 2, stopping 102 of 108 shots to turn the tide.
Fellow Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky allowed a soft goal to Kuznetsov as one of his four on 29 shots in the loss. Matt Calvert scored shorthanded and on a breakaway and Oliver Bjorkstrand had a deflection goal for Columbus.
Holtby said Friday referees have done a good job in the playoffs calling it like the regular season, and that trend continued in abundance in Game 5. An early roughing call on Washington’s Lars Eller yielded nothing, and a slash by Columbus’ Thomas Vanek actually led to a shorthanded goal by Calvert 10:08 into the first period.
Backstrom tied the score at 1 less than three minutes later, banking the puck off Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard’s left skate and watching it trickle down Bobrovsky’s back and in for his first goal of the playoffs.
The parade to the penalty box continued in the second period of a sloppy, mistake-filled game. A bad line change by the Blue Jackets gave the Capitals a 3-on-1 rush that was easier than any power play, with Kuznetsov going five-hole on Bobrovsky 3:21 into the second.
Just 84 seconds later, a turnover by Oshie sprung Calvert on his highlight-reel breakaway during which he whiffed on a shot before spinning, scoring and following the puck into the net. Riding a streak of double-digit penalties killed, the Capitals cashed in on their fourth power play of the game 16:42 into the second when Oshie tipped John Carlson’s point shot past Bobrovsky.
Carlson’s primary assist gave the pending unrestricted free agent defenseman eight points in the series.
A failed clear by the Capitals allowed the Blue Jackets to tie the score again 2:30 into the third period when Bjorkstrand got the tip of his blade on Ian Cole’s point shot to deflect the puck between Holtby and the post. Holtby made several big saves in the third period to keep the game going, including a stop on Pierre-Luc Dubois on a rebound and again as the 19-year-old center tried to bat the puck out of the air.
NOTES: Just 26 of the first 40 minutes were played at 5-on-5. … Thirteen of the Capitals’ past 24 playoff games have been decided in overtime. … Blue Jackets C Alexander Wennberg returned after missing Games 2, 3 and 4 following a hit to the head from Tom Wilson. He replaced Sonny Milano in the lineup. … The Capitals made no changes after winning back-to-back games in Columbus, keeping Chandler Stephenson on the second line in the absence of Andre Burakovsky, who’s out for at least the remainder of the series with an upper-body injury.
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