Columbus beats Washington in OT, Holtby suffers eye injury

WASHINGTON — Artemi Panarin flapping his arms to mimic Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal celebration for the final insult, but the defending Stanley Cup champions were more concerned about a potentially significant injury.

Panarin scored in overtime for the second consecutive game to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Saturday night. Panarin’s goal came after Washington lost All-Star goaltender Braden Holtby to an eye injury.

Holtby took a stick to the left eye from Cam Atkinson through his mask in the second period, left the game and did not return. Coach Todd Reirden was “very concerned” and remained uncertain about Holtby’s status afterward.

“He’ll be getting evaluated later tonight still,” Reirden said. “Our initial discussions with our trainer and doctors, that’s a serious thing. He wasn’t able to return to the game, and we’ll get some more evaluation tonight and know a little bit more tomorrow and have a better update for you guys then.”

Panarin’s goal 3:30 into overtime came on the 4-on-3 power play against Washington backup Pheonix Copley, who stopped the first 10 shots he faced in relief to help his team pick up a point. Panarin, known as “Bread” to teammates, also won the Blue Jackets’ game Thursday against Nashville in overtime.

“I loved the way we found a way to get the job done in overtime,” Columbus captain Nick Foligno said. “‘Bread,’ that’s what he brings to this team. It’s a great sign for our confidence right now.”

The Blue Jackets let a regulation victory slip away when Kuznetsov tied the score with 1:06 left. They had led since the one-minute mark of the first period when Cam Atkinson beat Holtby on a breakaway for his team-leading 25th goal of the season.

Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo stopped 32 of the 33 shots he faced in his second …read more

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