Holtby, Caps defeat Blue Jackets

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 19, 2013

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 04: Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals warms up before playing the New York Rangers on February 4, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Braden Holtby made 37 saves and Martin Erat assisted on three Washington goals in the Capitals' 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. Joel Ward and Brooks Laich scored in the second period for the Capitals, and Troy Brouwer and Alex Ovechkin gave Washington a cushion early in the third. Artem Anisimov spoiled Holtby's shutout at 15:05 of the third. The Capitals snapped a two game skid and finished their five-game homestand 2-3. Sergei Bobrovsky had 35 saves for the Blue Jackets, who have lost four straight. Moving Erat from the fourth line to the second paid quick dividends for Washington coach Adam Oates. Erat began play with 53 points in 57 regular-season games against Columbus - his highest point total against any team - and assisted on Washington's final three goals. Washington went up 1-0 early in the second period thanks to its top-ranked power play. With the Blue Jackets' Brandon Dubinsky off for tripping, Marcus Johansson made a nice pass in front to Ward, who one-timed it past Bobrovsky for his second goal of the year. Columbus peppered Holtby for several minutes to no avail. Then Washington's Steve Olesky came down the right side and made a nice delaying move to get his shot off. Bobrovsky made the stop, but Laich shoveled the rebound home to make it 2-0 at the 7:43. Washington added some insurance in the third when Erat stole a pass in the Columbus zone and fed Brouwer in front. Bobrovsky made a point-blank save, but Brouwer got the rebound, moved to his right and put the puck past the fallen goaltender at 4:20. Just over two minutes later, with Washington on a power play, Ovechkin beat Bobrovsky with a one-timer from his familiar spot in the left circle for his seventh goal of the season. With the Capitals coming off a pair of losses, including a 2-0 shutout Thursday against the Rangers, Oates dropped Grabovski from the second line to the third and Eric Fehr from the third line to a part-time role on the fourth. Laich centered the second line, with Erat moving onto that group. The Capitals controlled play for much of a scoreless first period, when Bobrovsky made 14 saves. Columbus had an excellent chance when Ryan Johansen picked up a loose puck in the Washington zone midway through the period. He skated in alone on Holtby, but his shot hit the right post. NOTES: The Blue Jackets recalled F Jack Skille from the AHL's Springfield Falcons and assigned F Sean Collins to their AHL affiliate. ... Washington D John Erskine missed his fourth game (upper body injury) and C Jay Beagle was a healthy scratch. ... LW Nick Foligno, C Ryan Craig, and D Dalton Prout were the Columbus scratches. ... It was the teams' first meeting since Dec. 31, 2011. They'll play each other three more times this season as members of the Metropolitan Division.
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