WASHINGTON – Both times the Columbus Blue Jackets fell behind in the third period, Raffi Torres bailed them out.
Torres’ second goal of the period with 23 seconds left sent the game to overtime and R.J. Umberger got his second of the game 1:45 into the extra period to lift the Blue Jackets to a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday night.
“He stepped up for sure,” Columbus’ Rick Nash said of Torres. “That first one was huge. Good battle down low, good wrap-around.”
Capitals star Alex Ovechkin left the game with an injury in the second period, and his teammates tried to use his absence for motivation in the third period.
“It was kind of a rallying cry,” said Quintin Laing, who scored his first goal of the season in the third. “We wanted to prove this team isn’t about one guy, it’s about a team, and we wanted to show people we can come back.”
Columbus led 2-1 going into the final period, but fell behind after Brooks Laich scored twice in a span of 2:08 midway through the third. Torres answered Laich’s two goals by tying the game at three with a wraparound at 13:36.
Laing regained the lead for Washington with 3:26 left in the third, but Torres tied it again in the final minute.
“I thought we played a pretty good third,” Capitals centre Brendan Morrison said. “We rallied and did a lot of good things offensively, and then we just go and shoot ourselves in the foot. It is frustrating because it was a game we should have won.”
Ovechkin was involved in a shoving match in front of the Blue Jackets bench barely a minute into the second period. A few minutes later, Ovechkin got tangled up with Torres and fell to the ice. After he got up, he grimaced and gingerly skated off the ice, heading straight to the locker-room.
After the game, Ovechkin declined to comment on the nature of the injury, other than calling it “upper body.”
“I can’t tell you how I got hurt,” he said. “It’s day-to-day.”
Nash scored the Blue Jackets’ first goal at the five-minute mark of the second period. He sped past defenceman Mike Green and then put a move on goalie Jose Theodore for his seventh goal in seven career games against Washington.
Nash also had two assists. He set up Umberger’s overtime winner, and had a hand in a fluke play that led to Umberger’s first goal.
On a power play, Nash dumped the puck into the Capitals zone down the right side. As Theodore went behind the net to play the puck, it appeared to bounce off a seam in the boards back in front of the goal and Umberger put it into the empty net.
“It’s a big win, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Nash said. “When we play on the road, we can’t be taking too many penalties. We made some defensive errors when the game was tied. Just got to sharpen up those areas.”
Ovechkin missed all of the late action after leaving the game at the 6:10 mark of the second period, but he was in the middle of things as the second period started.
During a break in play barely a minute into the period, Ovechkin was bumped by Columbus left wing Jason Chimera and Ovechkin responded with a shove and players from both teams skated over to the scrum. Ovechkin, Chimera and Blue Jacket right wing Jared Boll all received minors for roughing, and Boll was also issued a misconduct.
Ovechkin downplayed the incident afterward.
“It was just a moment of the game,” Ovechkin said. “Nothing happened. He just hit me, I hit him, there was a little battle there, nothing happened.”
Chimera said the scuffle was a result of a hard hit by Ovechkin earlier in the game.
“He kind of throw a punch at me, and then Boller kind of got into it and it was a mess. I hope he’s all right,” Chimera said. “There was no intent to hurt somebody out there. He just hit me pretty hard that one shift, so I just let him know ‘You’re not going to hit me like that all game,’ so I pushed him a bit, he punched me back in the face, and a couple shifts later he’s off the ice, so I hope he’s all right.”
NOTES: Laing returned after missing three games with swine flue. RW Eric Fehr (sore ribs) sat out for the fourth straight game. … Columbus shut out Washington in the team’s two meetings last season. … Washington D Mike Green extended his point streak to a career-best nine games with an assist on Laich’s second goal.