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Laich spawned the first Caps rally in the third with a pair of goals. Columbus goaltender Steve Mason was en route to another masterpiece against the Caps, but Laich struck twice 2:08 apart to erase a one-goal deficit.

The first was a rebound of a shot from Tom Poti, who was replacing Ovechkin on the left point of the top power-play unit, at 8:15. The second came with Mike Knuble providing a perfect screen in front on a shot from the top of the circles.

Torres leveled the score at 3-3 with 6:24 left. His backhanded wraparound attempt hit Caps goalie Jose Theodore on the inside of his left leg and squirted through.

“I thought we played a pretty good third [period],” Morrison said. “We rallied and did a lot of good things offensively, and then we just go and shoot ourselves in the foot. It is frustrating because it was a game we should have won.”

While the Caps still have lost only twice in regulation, they gave away a second point in part because of seven penalties - including one just before the tying goal by Knuble and one by Brian Pothier 12 seconds before the game-winner.

“That’s what happens when you take stupid penalties,” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Selfish penalties, they cost you all the time. You take a team penalty and work your [butt] off like they did, then you usually kill them off all the time, but when you take a selfish penalty it doesn’t end real good.”