WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin put in a rebound 1:34 into overtime Tuesday night, giving the Washington Capitals a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Ovechkin’s 14th goal of the season came when he was perched by the crease to stuff in the puck after Marcus Johansson’s shot was saved by Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Washington’s Mikhail Grabovski sent the game to overtime by getting his stick on a loose puck with 1:45 remaining in regulation, capping a back-and-forth third period that awoke the Verizon Center crowd after a sleepy start to the game.
John Carlson and Joel Ward also scored for the Capitals, who have won five of seven and five straight at home. Braden Holtby made 24 saves.
Brandon Dubinsky, Jared Boll and Cam Atkinson scored for the Blue Jackets, who have dropped six of seven. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30 shots.
Boll and Atkinson scored about three minutes apart after the Capitals had taken a 2-1 lead in the third period. Boll was upended into a near-cartwheel after his redirect of James Wisniewski’s shot with 8:38 to play for his first goal of the season, then Atkinson beat Holtby on a breakaway with 5:41 remaining after Capitals defensemen Mike Green couldn’t control the puck at center ice.
The normally energetic Capitals fans had trouble generating their usual frenzy for an early season, midweek game against a new rival from the Metropolitan Division, and much of the play on the ice was as subdued as the crowd.
A lethargic first period — no goals, no penalties, few decent scoring chances — gave way to some more interesting action in the second, when the Blue Jackets caught the Capitals sleepwalking through a power play. Dubinsky outhustled Troy Brouwer to the puck behind Washington’s net and then was unchallenged as he skated in front and backhanded an easy shot past Holtby for a short-handed goal.
The Capitals’ power play has been the best in the league (20 goals), but it wasn’t much better on its next chance — when the Blue Jackets were caught with too many men on the ice — but Washington scored shortly after the penalty was killed. The play was all Martin Erat, who showed perseverance to reach around a defender and slide the puck to Carlson, who crashed into net while celebrating his fourth goal of the season.
The game came alive in the third when Ward got his ninth goal, surpassing his total from last season, while the Capitals were short-handed. Bobrovsky went behind the net to play the puck but had it hop past his stick and straight to Ward, who scored into an empty from the right circle.
NOTES: Dubinsky has two goals and five assists in his last four games. ... Columbus F Nick Foligno remains away from the team for personal reasons. ... Erat has scored more points (57) against Columbus than any other team.
Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP