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Capitals beat Blue Jackets 3-2 in 2OT, pull to 2-1 in series

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Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, of Russia, makes a stop against the Washington Capitals during the first period in Game 3 of an NHL first-round hockey playoff series in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Lars Eller scored in the second overtime period and the Washington Capitals beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in Game 3 on Tuesday night to tighten up the their first-round playoff series.

The Capitals won at Nationwide Arena after Columbus won the first two games — both in overtime — in Washington. It was the Capitals' turn to prevail in OT, this time on the Blue Jackets' home ice, to pull to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Eller tapped a rebound past Sergei Bobrovsky 9 minutes into the second extra period for his first goal in the playoff series.

Tom Wilson and John Carlson also scored, and Braden Holtby stopped 33 shots for the Capitals, who were in danger of falling into a nearly insurmountable hole had they let the game slip away.

Game 4 is Thursday night back here with Game 5 set for Washington on Saturday.

Pierre-Luc Dubois and Artemi Panarin scored for Columbus, and Bobrovsky finished with 42 saves after getting 54 in the Game 2 on Sunday.

Panarin knotted the score 4:12 into the third after he and Cam Atkinson went back and forth with pinpoint passes before he swiped it past Holtby from the left circle.

That's the way it stayed until the second overtime.

After a scoreless first period, Wilson got credit for the first Washington goal when he deflected Matt Niskanen's rising shot 5:52 into the second. The Blue Jackets got a break two minutes later when a goal by the Capitals' Brett Connolly was waved off after a video replay showed he was offside bringing the puck down the ice.

Dubois tied it with 8:42 left in the second when he rifled a shot past Holtby's glove from the right circle.

Later in the period, with Columbus' Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Murray both in the penalty box for slashing, Carlson connected with 5:17 left on a one-timer 28 seconds into the 5-on-3.

The Capitals have outshot the Blue Jackets 133-92 through the first three games.

NOTES: Washington F Jakub Vrana played in place of Andre Burakovsky, who is out at least through Thursday's game with an upper-body injury suffered when he was checked into the boards by Blue Jackets F Boone Jenner on Sunday. Vrana was a healthy scratch for that game. ... Blue Jackets F Alexander Wennberg missed a second game after being injured in Game 1. Sonny Milano again played in his place. ... The announced crowd of 19,337 was the largest ever for a Blue Jackets game. ... Washington star Alex Ovechkin appeared in his 100th career playoff game. ... Panarin, who had an assist on Atkinson's goal, has eight straight multi-point games. ... It was the 22nd time in NHL history that a playoff series went to overtime in at least three consecutive games.

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