WASHINGTON (AP) — Charlie Lindgren made 35 saves, Tom Wilson scored an early goal for his third of the season and the Washington Capitals held on for a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
“Being back in the pipes tonight felt good,” said Lindgren, who was making his first start since Oct. 13 after missing six games because of injury. “It’s been over three weeks since I played, and to get a big win over Columbus was pretty awesome.”
Sonny Milano added his second goal and a second first-period goal for Washington, which celebrated the 1,000th win in franchise history.
The Caps won their fourth in their last five despite being held scoreless for five of their last six periods.
“The win is great,” said Capitals coach Spencer Carbery, whose team has only scored 21 times in its opening 10 games. “You’d just like some of our guys to get rewarded for doing a lot of good things.”
Washington lost defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk in the first period with a lower-body injury after he went awkwardly into the boards behind his own goal.
Rooke Dmitri Voronkov scored his first NHL goal for Blue Jackets. They have lost five of their last six.
Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins made 25 stops.
Columbus went 0 for 5 on the power play and has scored five goals in 40 opportunities with the man advantage.
“We see the play developing on the power play,” Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent said. “We’re missing a little bit of poise, making the next play. We’re forcing plays and that’s hurting us.”
Wilson missed a chance to put his team in front earlier when he failed to convert a penalty shot, but he still opened the scoring with 7:39 left in the first by beating Merzlikins high from the slot.
Milano doubled the lead five minutes later when he finished off Nick Jensen’s feed to the back post.
Voronkov cut Columbus’ deficit in half when he redirected Krill Marchenko’s puck toward the net past Lindgren from just outside the crease.
But the Blue Jackets couldn’t find the leveling goal despite putting 14 shots on frame in the third period and earning two power plays. The Capitals blocked 25 shots in total to help Lindgren earn the win.
“When you see guys competing as hard as they did tonight, it inspires you to do the same,” Lindgren said. “There was a lot of guys tonight that really stepped up big, whether it was big faceoff wins, big blocks, big clears. You can go up and down the lineup — it was pretty impressive.”
Blue Jackets: At Florida on Monday night.
Capitals: Host Florida on Wednesday night.
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