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“We unraveled,” Columbus coach Todd Richards said. “I think even after those first two goals, we started to go after them, but we weren’t good enough. We got what we deserved. I think the chances were there.”

Washington went up 1-0 early in the second period thanks to its top-ranked power play.

With the Blue Jackets’ Brandon Dubinsky off for tripping, Marcus Johansson made a nice pass in front to Ward, who one-timed it past Bobrovsky for his second goal of the year.

Columbus peppered Holtby for several minutes to no avail.

Then Washington’s Steve Olesky came down the right side and made a nice delaying move to get his shot off. Bobrovsky made the stop, but Laich shoveled the rebound home to make it 2-0 at the 7:43.

Washington added some insurance in the third when Erat stole a pass in the Columbus zone and fed Brouwer in front. Bobrovsky made a point-blank save, but Brouwer got the rebound, moved to his right and put the puck past the fallen goaltender at 4:20.

“They got that third (goal) and it just cracked us, I guess,” Blue Jackets RJ Umberger said. “We turned the puck over. They capitalized on their chances tonight and we didn’t.”

Just over two minutes later, with Washington on a power play, Ovechkin beat Bobrovsky with a one-timer from his familiar spot in the left circle for his seventh goal of the season.

“As far as the third period, we’re letting each other down as far as our play in front of our goalie,” Richards said. “Disappointing the way the game ended.”

The Capitals controlled play for much of a scoreless first period, when Bobrovsky made 14 saves.

Columbus had an excellent chance when Ryan Johansen picked up a loose puck in the Washington zone midway through the period. He skated in alone on Holtby, but his shot hit the right post.