National Hockey League
Preview
Washington at Columbus
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, April 19, 2018
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

Fresh off their second straight overtime loss, Alex Ovechkin generated both headlines and raised eyebrows after declaring that the Washington Capitals would return to the District of Columbia tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets at two victories apiece in their Eastern Conference first-round series. Halfway there after a double-overtime win, the visiting Capitals look to make Ovechkin's words ring true in Game 4 on Thursday.

Ovechkin recorded his second straight two-point performance when he notched a pair of assists in his 100th career playoff game before Lars Eller ended Tuesday's marathon after the puck caromed off him and into the net for a 3-2 win. "It was a real ugly OT-winner goal. I had a feeling it was going be one of those. It doesn't make the win less sweet," the 28-year-old Eller told the Washington Post. Or less sour for the Blue Jackets, who saw Artemi Panarin's eighth straight multi-point performance go by boards in the setback. The former Calder Trophy recipient scored and set up a goal in Game 3 to give him seven points (two goals, five assists) in the series and 20 (four goals, 16 assists) in the eight-game stretch.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, USA, Sportsnet, TVAS2, NBCS Washington, FS Ohio (Columbus)

ABOUT THE CAPITALS: Braden Holtby earned his keep on Tuesday with 33 saves, prompting coach Barry Trotz to declare the 2016 Vezina Trophy winner the starter the following day. "I don't think there's any doubt about that," Trotz said of Holtby, who answered a 1-5-2 mark with a gaudy 4.82 goals-against average and .854 save percentage from Feb. 11-March 5 with a solid 5-1-0 record in his final six regular-season starts. Holtby also rebounded after Panarin's 2-on-1 goal early in the third period in Game 3 to stop the final 17 shots he faced.

ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS: Cam Atkinson joined defenseman Seth Jones with an assist on Tuesday to extend their respective point streaks, with the former riding a 12-game stretch (10 goals, seven assists). Jones logged a team-high 35:04 and Panarin had over 31 1/2 minutes, prompting Columbus coach John Tortorella to give his team the day off from practice on Wednesday with both teams working a staggering 47:24 of overtime in the series. "During playoffs, to me, it's not a physical fatigue; it's a mental fatigue - and that's what breaks you down physically," Tortorella said on Wednesday. "But if we're fatigued three games in, (expletive), we're just starting. It's a long game last night, and we've had a couple overtime games, but that's all part of this."

OVERTIME

1. Washington C Nicklas Backstrom, who has five assists in the series and is riding a six-game point streak (two goals, nine assists) will skate in his 100th career NHL playoff game on Thursday.

2. Two-time Vezina Trophy winner G Sergei Bobrovsky owns a .925 save percentage after facing 133 shots in three contests of the series.

3. This series is the 22nd in NHL history that has featured at least three consecutive overtime games.

PREDICTION: Capitals 3, Blue Jackets 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Washington 50-26-8-1 W1 28-11-4-0 22-15-4-1 4-3-2-0 46-23-6-1 18-8-4-1
Columbus 47-30-4-4 L1 26-12-3-1 21-18-1-3 1-0-1-0 46-30-3-4 16-10-3-2
Last Meeting
Washington Columbus
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
4/17/18 WAS 3 (OT) CLB 2 45 33 1-4 35 42 0-4
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Washington A. Ovechkin 2
Columbus A. Panarin 2
Goals Player  
Washington J. Carlson 1
Columbus P. Dubois 1
Assists Player  
Washington A. Ovechkin 2
Columbus C. Atkinson 1
Saves Player  
Washington B. Holtby 33
Columbus S. Bobrovsky 42
Season
Total Points Player  
Washington A. Ovechkin 93
Columbus A. Panarin 94
Goals Player  
Washington A. Ovechkin 51
Columbus A. Panarin 30
Assists Player  
Washington E. Kuznetsov 60
Columbus A. Panarin 64
Saves Player  
Washington B. Holtby 1622
Columbus S. Bobrovsky 2040
Quickchart Matchup
Washington Off vs  Columbus Def
3.13 GF
2.78 GA
29.6 Shots
31.8 Shots
61 PP
57 PK
Columbus Off vs  Washington Def
2.91 GF
2.93 GA
33.6 Shots
31.8 Shots
43 PP
57 PK