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Caps top Blue Jackets 4-1 to even series at 2 games each

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Columbus Blue Jackets' Sergei Bobrovsky, right, of Russia, makes a save against Washington Capitals' Chandler Stephenson during Game 4 of an NHL first-round hockey playoff series Thursday, April 19, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and two assists, and Braden Holtby stopped 23 shots as the Washington Capitals beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Thursday night to even their playoff series at two games apiece.

Tom Wilson and Alexander Ovechkin each had a goal and an assist, and T.J. Oshie also scored for the workmanlike Capitals, who won this time in regulation after the first three games of the best-of-7 series were decided in overtime. Game 5 is Saturday afternoon in Washington.

Columbus had overcome multi-goal deficits to win the first two games in Washington. When the series shifted to Columbus on Tuesday, the Capitals prevailed in double-overtime.

This one lacked the intensity of the first three, and there was no comeback magic for the Blue Jackets. In fact, they were just flat through a good chunk of the first two periods, chasing pucks and flubbing passes. They finally seem to get out of the quicksand near the end of the second period after coach John Tortorella started switching up the lines.

Boone Jenner scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky had 29 saves for Columbus.

Washington led 1-0 after the opening period. Just after Columbus' Thomas Vanek knocked the puck out of the blue paint with his glove, Kuznetsov shoveled the carom from the right boards out to Wilson, who connected from above the circle at 6:16.

The Capitals got their second halfway through the second period on a power play when Oshie flicked in a rebound. Ovechkin's third-period goal made it 3-0.

Jenner redirected Josh Anderson's slap shot 6:22 into the third to make it a 3-1 game and finally give the record Nationwide Arena crowd of 19,395 something to cheer about. Kuznetsov added an empty-net goal with 2:19 left in the game.

NOTES: Washington F Andre Burakovsky missed a second game with an upper-body injury. It's not clear if he will play in Game 5 on Saturday. ... The Capitals have scored the first goal in all four playoff games. ... Washington has seven power-play goals in the series. ... Ovechkin has three goals and three assists in the four games.

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Game 5 is Saturday in Washington.

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