Alex Ovechin scored his milestone 750th National Hockey League goal as the Washington Capitals defeated the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 Saturday night.
Aliaksei Protas and Garnet Hathaway also scored for the Capitals, who improved to 4-1-1 in their past six games. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 17 saves.
Eric Robinson scored for Columbus, which lost all four games on its road trip and was outscored 18-6. Goalie Daniil Tarasov, making his second career start with Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo ailing, stopped 29 of 31 shots.
Ovechkin’s milestone came at 3:12 of the second period on a three-on-two rush. The 36-year-old Russian took a pass from defenseman John Carlson in the neutral zone, skated over the blue line on the right wing, and put a wrist shot from just outside the faceoff dot past countryman Tarasov and inside the far post, giving the Capitals a 2-0 lead.
Ovechkin is just the fourth player to reach 750 career goals, joining Wayne Gretzky (894), Gordie Howe (801) and Jaromir Jagr (766).
Protas gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 4:33 of the first period, tracking down the rebound of Justin Schultz’s shot from the right point and lifting it over Tarasov.
Columbus’ Yegor Chinakhov appeared to have trimmed the deficit to 2-1 about a minute after Ovechkin’s goal, but it was disallowed after video review determined the play was offside.
The Capitals, who had blown third-period leads in each of their previous three games, losses in regulation and in a shootout, held on this time.
The Blue Jackets finally got on the board at 6:28 of the third as Justin Danforth skated down the left wing on a two-on-one break and fed a pass across the top of the crease to Robinson, who tapped the puck into the open side of the net.
Hathaway clinched the victory with an empty-net goal with 1:27 remaining.
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