Alex Ovechkin scored his 827th NHL career goal as the Washington Capitals defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on Saturday night, extending the Blue Jackets’ losing streak to eight consecutive games.
The Capitals have been in good form, winning four in a row and eight of their last 10 games. Ovechkin’s fifth goal of the season puts him 67 goals behind Wayne Gretzky’s career record.
Hendrix Lapierre and Aliaksei Protas each contributed a goal and two assists, while Sonny Milano also scored, and Charlie Lindgren made 33 saves for Washington. The Capitals saw the return of several key players to the ice.
Anthony Mantha made a return from a ruptured left ear drum, Trevor van Riemsdyk came back from a lower-body injury, and Joel Edmundson made his Capitals debut seven weeks after breaking his right hand in a training camp scrimmage.
Dylan Strome assisted Ovechkin’s goal, marking his first assist of the season to add to his team-leading seven goals. The Capitals continued their winning streak despite the absence of No. 2 center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was replaced in the lineup by Lapierre.
Columbus’ losing streak persisted despite goals from Johnny Gaudreau in the second period, and Ivan Provorov and Justin Danforth in the third. Johnny Hockey, who has been benched twice this season by first-year coach Pascal Vincent, ended a seven-game goal drought.
Provorov’s goal with 12:59 left stood after Capitals coach Spencer Carbery challenged for goaltender interference. Washington successfully killed the power play, extending its streak of successful penalty kills to 23.
Elvis Merzlikins allowed four goals on 26 shots. Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner skated in his 675th regular-season NHL game, surpassing Rick Nash for the most in franchise history.
Blue Jackets: Visit Philadelphia on Sunday, hoping to halt the Flyers’ winning streak at four games.