“I’m happy it went in, but I loved our third period and overtime by the fellas,” said Oshie, who tallied his fourth career overtime goal and second as a Capital.
The Capitals improved to an NHL-best 27-7-5 with their first win over the Jackets (17-14-7) in three attempts this season. The equalizer from Washington was a well-executed strike from the third line, with winger Carl Hagelin scoring off a pretty through-the-legs pass from Richard Panik.
“It was a great pass,” Hagelin said. “He’s been on my side the whole time. He’s been trying to find me out there, and I’ve just missed some good looks, but today it went in.”
Hagelin’s first goal of the season came in fitting fashion only days after the Swede said he was playing street hockey with some neighbors during the holiday break, just taking the time to relax and kill some time on Christmas Eve.
He joked that while he was firing a couple slap shots past the neighborhood kids, he was building up his confidence after going scoreless in the team’s first 38 games. And Friday night, joke or not, Hagelin finally broke through at 6:13 in the third period.
“On the 24th I went out there and took some slap shots with Drew, Will and Carson,” Hagelin said. “I told them, too, hopefully this gets me going, which it did. Kudos to them.”
Ilya Samsonov made 27 saves and earned his 10th win in his 12th start of the season. It is the fewest starts in franchise history a rookie has taken to earn 10 wins. He said Friday night was the first time his mother, Natalia, has seen him play an NHL game in person.
“He’s played great,” Alex Ovechkin said of Samsonov. “Obviously, he makes a couple of huge saves and keeps us in the game. And I’m very happy for [Hagelin] finally to score; he’s played hard. And I think tonight we showed character. We knew if they get the lead they’re going to play a safe game, but it’s a good thing we stick to our system and stick to the plan and we get rewarded.”
Both teams were without regular starters, with Columbus missing eight players and the Capitals missing one (Michal Kempny). Kempny (illness) sat for the ninth time this season.
Radko Gudas was a game-time decision after missing the morning skate but finished with more than 11 minutes of ice time for the Capitals. The team called up Christian Djoos to round out its complement of defensemen, and he logged nearly 13 minutes of ice time in his season debut.
The Blue Jackets struck first when fourth-line winger Jakob Lilja scored his first NHL goal midway through the second period.
The sequence started with Riley Nash making a nice play around a diving Jonas Siegenthaler in the slot. Nash then found Lilja on the right side, and Lilja slipped the puck past Samsonov.
The Capitals came to life in the third. It started with a big hit from Tom Wilson on Lilja in the corner. Wilson finished tied with Gudas for a game-high five hits, and Lilja was slow to get up from this one. Tempers started to flare, and it carried over to the ensuing shift, with Siegenthaler dropping gloves with Columbus captain Nick Foligno.
It was Siegenthaler’s first NHL fight, and both were assessed five minutes for fighting and a minor penalty (Siegenthaler for cross-checking and Foligno for roughing).
Both Wilson’s hit and Siegnthaler’s fight were a “message to our entire group that we could be a little more emotionally invested in the game than we were at that point,” Capitals Coach Todd Reirden said.
“We talked about that going into the third, and I thought we had a pretty good push in the third and obviously get rewarded with the big goal by Hagelin, and then we are able to tie things up, and it was a competitive game against them as well.”
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