The Capitals became the third NHL team to reach 100 points this season and they climbed within one point of Philadelphia for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia suffered a 1-0 loss to Atlanta Thursday.
Washington took a one-goal lead on three occasions but Columbus came back to tie it each time. The Blue Jackets' Scottie Upshall created a 3-3 deadlock with 5:37 remaining in regulation.
John Carlson, Mike Knuble and Jason Arnott all scored for Washington, which has four games remaining in the regular season.
Michal Neuvirth had to make only 20 saves to get the win.
Steve Mason stopped 29-of-33 shots for the Blue Jackets, who are out of playoff contention.