COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Alex Ovechkin ended his long goal drought with a dramatic game-winner on Thursday night.

The NHL's second all-time leading goal scorer beat Elvis Merzlikins from the left circle with 53 seconds left in overtime to lift the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Capitals had a 4-on-3 power play because of a roughing call against Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins with 2:18 left in OT.

Ovechkin went 14 games without a goal after tallying on Nov. 18 against Columbus.

“It’s been a while. I’ll take it," said the 38-year-old star, who logged his 828th career goal, his 26th in OT and 125th game-winner overall, second in NHL history behind Jaromir Jagr's 135.

“I had pretty good chances in the first and the second as well, obviously," Ovechkin said. "Sometimes you have to keep pushing and keep grinding. I’m happy it goes in and hope there’s going to be way, way more.”

Merzlikins was called for the penalty after going after notorious intimidator Tom Wilson. Merzlikins said Wilson had been trying to hurt him since the first shift and the goaltender's emotions got the best of him.

After Wilson tumbled into the net in the OT period, Merzlikins began pummeling him.

“I was trying to get my stick, I got punched in the head,” Merzlikins said. “Before that. I think he was trying to get me hurt. Enough - I’m going to defend myself. ... He got what he deserved. I don't care.”

Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent didn't want to hear it.

“Tom Wilson’s job is to get in people’s faces, and get in the goalie’s face,” Vincent said. “He’s creating a lot of emotions. The emotions were high. (Wilson) did what he had to do, and we reacted. It cost us the game.”

Capitals coach Spencer Carbery said Merzlikins was trying to hold up Wilson to create an odd-man rush on the other end.

“For (Wilson) to hold his composure and draw the power play there arguably you could say was the difference in the game,” Carbery said.

Anthony Mantha scored twice in regulation and Charlie Lindgren made 34 saves as the Capitals won their third straight. John Carlson had three assists.

Yegor Chinakhov scored his sixth goal in the last six games to tie the score at 2 with 7:11 left in regulation.

Cole Sillinger also scored for the Blue Jackets, and Merzlikins had 29 stops for Blue Jackets, who lost after scoring nine goals in beating Buffalo on Tuesday night.

The Caps have points in seven of their last eight games.


Capitals: Host Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Blue Jackets: Host Toronto on Saturday.



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