WASHINGTON – John Tortorella had worried about Sunday’s game, the first matinee for Columbus all season. He didn’t want the Washington Capitals to get off to a quick start.
The Capitals scored on Nicklas Backstrom’s goal barely three minutes into the game, but the Blue Jackets didn’t fold and got a last-minute goal with Backstrom in the penalty box and escaped with their fourth straight win, 3-2 over the angry Capitals. Backstrom was called for high-sticking Nick Foligno with 1:34 remaining, a penalty the Capitals vehemently disputed.
Alexander Wennberg took a pass from Foligno and slammed it past Capitals goalie Braden Holtby with 54 seconds left in the game. The goal was confirmed after a video review.
It was the Blue Jackets’ second power play goal of the game, and Washington coach Barry Trotz didn’t like the call that cost his team.
“If you see the replay, he doesn’t really touch him, and his head pops up when (Backstrom’s) stick is already on the way down. That’s just a little disrespectful to the game,” Trotz said. “The penalty call was not great for me.”
Backstrom, who also assisted on Alex Ovechkin’s ninth goal of the season midway through the second period, didn’t think he touched Foligno.
“Last two minutes you get a penalty that’s not a penalty, that’s tough,” Backstrom said.
Columbus has its longest winning streak since running off nine straight from March 18-April 4, 2015.
“Sometimes it seemed like they took over the game more and more but we started to play smart and at the end of the game we felt like we played smart and got opportunity to score,” Wennberg said. “Find a way to win. It’s as easy as that.”
Tortorella, who has eliminated morning skates from the Blue Jackets’ routine, talked to his team about the perils of getting off to a slow start.
“They score one, but they don’t score the two and three where it can really knock you out in an afternoon game like this, really a morning game,” he said. “That steadied us a little bit.”
Ovechkin’s ninth goal of the season gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead, but the Blue Jackets tied it just 14 seconds into the third period on Brandon Dubinsky’s second goal of the season.
Columbus’ goal by Foligno six minutes into the second period broke Washington’s streak of 15 straight successful penalty kills.
Other than the disputed call, Trotz didn’t find much to find fault with — even though it was the Capitals’ second loss in five days to the Blue Jackets.
“They played a solid game. We played a solid game. There’s not going to be a lot of mistakes,” Trotz said.
Panthers 3, Rangers 2 (SO)
In New York, Vincent Trocheck and Aleksander Barkov scored in the shootout to lift Florida to a win over the Rangers.
James Reimer made 33 saves, and two more in the shootout, backing goals from the Panthers’ Keith Yandle and Aaron Ekblad.
This is the first time this season New York has dropped back-to-back games after losing to Columbus on Friday. It’s the first time Florida has beaten the Rangers at Madison Square Garden since April 18, 2013.
Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves in his 700th start. He is only the fifth goaltender in NHL history to play 700 games with one franchise.
Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad scored for New York.
Flames 3, Red Wings 2
In Detroit, Mikael Backlund scored with 7:46 left in the third period to give Calgary a victory over the slumping Red Wings.
Garnet Hathaway got his first career goal and Matt Stajan also scored for the Flames. Calgary defenseman Dougie Hamilton had three assists, and Chad Johnson stopped 21 shots.
Tomas Tatar and Anthony Mantha scored for Detroit, which lost its fourth straight.
Hurricanes 3, Jets 1
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Victor Rask got his eighth goal of the season and 19-year-old Noah Hanifin scored his first, helping the Hurricanes beat Winnipeg for their fourth straight win.
Elias Lindholm also got his first goal of the season in the first period, and Carolina kept up the pressure from there, challenging goalie Connor Hellebuyck with 40 shots.
Rask made it 2-0 on a power play early in the third, and after Mark Scheifele got his 11th goal for the Jets, Hanifin put it away with a power-play score with 1:43 left.
Kings 3, Ducks 2
In Anaheim, Jeff Carter scored twice and got his 600th career point while Peter Budaj made 28 saves as Los Angeles beat the Ducks.