Final score: Washington Capitals 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
How it happened: After a scoreless first period, T.J. Oshie and Andre Burakovsky scored 1:44 apart in early in the second to give the Caps a 2-0 lead. Matt Niskanen would add a third goal later in the period to give Washington a commanding lead through 40 minutes. Jack Johnson scored a beauty in the third to put some life into Columbus. Then the fisticuffs happened. After taking a few rabbit punches from Josh Anderson, Alex Ovechkin threw a few punches of his own and line brawl broke out. Kyle Quincey scored to pull Columbus within one with just under five minutes remaining, but Washington held on for the 3-2 win.
What it means: The win gives Washington a five-point lead in the Metropolitan Division over Pittsburgh and a six-point lead over Columbus. All three teams have four games remaining.
Caps goal: T.J. Oshie from Nicklas Backstrom at 1:12 in the 1st period. A long breakout pass from Backstrom went deep into Columbus’ zone. Oshie retrieved it from the right circle then cut inside and backhanded the shot past Bobrovsky. Caps 1, Blue Jackets 0
Caps goal: Andre Burakovsky from Lars Eller and Kevin Shattenkirk at 2:56 in the 2nd period. Eller entered the zone with the puck, but was forced to the outside. He took the puck around behind the net then pulled off a sweet little spin-around pass to Burakovsky who hit the top corner or the net. Caps 2, Blue Jackets 0
Caps goal: Matt Niskanen from Andre Burakovsky at 10:05 in the 2nd period. Burakovsky intercepted a pass from the point in the defensive zone and it was off to the races. Niskanen jumped into the play and received the great pass from Burakovsky and was able to shoot it home. Caps 3, Blue Jackets 0
Blue Jackets goal: Jack Johnson from Alexander Wennberg and Sam Gagner at 9:22 in the 3rd period. Johnson scored a highlight reel goal to get Columbus on the board. As he carried the puck into the offensive zone he easily deked John Carlson, then pulled off a curl and drag past Tom Wilson before beating Holtby down low with the shot. Caps 3, Blue Jackets 1
Blue Jackets goal: Kyle Quincey from Sam Gagner and Brandon Saad at 15:33 in the 3rd period. Saad kicked the puck up to the point and Quincey fired a slap shot that took a couple of bounces on its way into the back of the net. Caps 3, Blue Jackets 2
1. Braden Holtby: In a battle between two of the top netminders in the NHL, Holtby stole the show. He turned aside 34 shots including one with just three seconds remaining to hold on to the one-goal lead.
2. Andre Burakovsky: Burakovsky scored Washington's second goal to give the Caps control of the game in the second period. He also set up the third goal with a great steal and a great pass to find the open Niskanen.
3. Jack Johnson: Give him credit, that was a beautiful goal and it breathed life into a Blue Jackets team that looked defeated at that point.
Look ahead: The Caps wrap up their five-game road trip on Tuesday in Toronto. They then return home on Wednesday to host the New York Rangers and wrap-up the regular season with another back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday in Boston and then at home against Florida.
Tell us what you think: With the win, the magic number for Washington to clinch the Metropolitan Division is four. Did this win seal the deal for the Caps or will Pittsburgh and Columbus continue to challenge Washington?