Columbus defeated by Washington in ninth loss

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Columbus defeated by Washington in ninth loss

The Washington Capitals dropped five in a row before putting together a winning streak that now stands at three.

One of these days, perhaps the Columbus Blue Jackets will experience a similar reversal of fortune.

Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson each scored two goals, and the Capitals beat Columbus 4-2 on Tuesday night to extend the Blue Jackets’ skid to nine games.

Braden Holtby stopped 24 shots, including all 11 in the third period, to help the Capitals reach a season high in consecutive victories.

“The game is all about momentum,’’ Washington Coach Barry Trotz said.

The Blue Jackets know this too well. Unfortunately, they’re stumbling in the wrong direction.

Columbus has been outscored 39-18 during an 0-8-1 stretch that began Oct. 24. The winless drought equals the longest in franchise history, set in December 2009 when the club went 0-7-2.

“We’ve been doing good things every single game, but we have to find a way to win,’’ center Ryan Johansen said. “We create opportunities for ourselves and hit a crossbar or miss the net or they make a good save. We’ll just look at the positives and try to build off that.’’

Even though the Capitals took the lead for good on a goal by Johansson with 66 seconds elapsed, they never could pull away - even after Ovechkin scored twice during a nine-minute span of the first period to make it 3-1.

It was a one-goal game before Johansson scored on a wraparound at 14:39 of the third period to clinch it.

“We showed a lot of character tonight,’’ defenseman Mike Green said.

Cam Atkinson and David Savard scored for the injury-plagued Blue Jackets, who can’t help but wonder if every game during this stretch is a replay of the one that preceded it.

“You’ve got to get that winning feeling back,’’ defenseman James Wisniewski said. “You get that ‘here we go again’ attitude, but you can’t think like that. The mind is powerful, and if you think bad things are going to happen, they will.’’

The Blue Jackets played a seventh straight game without top goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who has a broken finger. Curtis McElhinney started in his place and was pelted with 31 shots in falling to 0-5-1.

Columbus was without injured forwards Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu. In addition, defenseman Jack Johnson completed a three-game suspension for an illegal check.

Those remaining are trying their best to make up the difference.

“I don’t think it’s a lack of effort,’’ Wisniewski said. “It’s some kind of weird funk. I really don’t have any answers.’’

After being outscored 4-0 in the first period of their last game, the Blue Jackets again struggled during the opening 20 minutes. They have been outscored 18-10 in the first period this season. AP

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