Alexander Steen scores twice as Blues hold on to defeat Capitals
The St. Louis Blues are rolling. Against the Washington Capitals, an injury, an ejection and Alex Ovechkin's two goals weren't enough to stop them.
Alexander Steen had two goals and an assist, Brian Elliot stopped 33 shots and the Blues beat the Capitals 4-3 on Sunday.
"This was a real gutsy win. You lose one of your top defensemen second shift into the game. Your captain goes out," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We didn't (just) hang on, we played really well. There's wins and then there's really impressive wins. This was a very impressive win."
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk left with a first-period injury, forward and captain David Backes was ejected and the Blues still won their fifth straight game and third in four days.
Dmitrij Jaskin and Vladimir Tarasenko also scored for the St. Louis, winners and 10 of 11, and T.J. Oshie had three assists.
Ovechkin, who has 15 goals in his last 15 games, added an assist and his two scores gave him a NHL-leading 31 goals. He became the fifth player in NHL history to start his career with 10 30-goal seasons.
Washington is 1-4-2 in its last seven after dropping back-to-back games over the weekend.
Backes was booted for boarding Karl Alzner early in the second. The game turned, but not in the Capitals' favor.
St. Louis killed off the 5-minute penalty, limiting the league's fourth best power-play unit to two shots.
"It's confidence for us and frustrates their best players," Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said about the penalty kill. "(Washington) is a team that thrives on the power play."
Hitchcock called it the key to the game.
"We took the energy out of the building, we took the energy out of their team," he said.
St. Louis went ahead just over a minute later. Catching the Capitals on a change, the Blues skated in 3 on 2. Steen gave up the puck, but got it back in front of the net and banged his own rebound past Justin Peters for his second of the game to make it 2-1.
"We just made some mistakes that cost us the game," Ovechkin said. "We didn't execute on the power play and we had a bad change when Steen scored their second one."
The Capitals tied it after St. Louis turned the puck over in its own end and Ovechkin's wrist shot from the left circle got past Elliot at 14:30.
Less than 2 minutes later, the Blues regained the lead when Jaskin slid the puck past Peters from the slot off a rebound.
Tarasenko gave St. Louis a 4-2 lead when he converted a pass from Steen on a 2-on-1 rush for his 25th goal at 6:13 of the third period.
Alzner pulled Washington to 4-3 with 7:32 remaining.
Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green had two assists each for Washington, and back-up goalie Peters made 36 saves.
"I thought he made some key saves at critical times," Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "I don't have any problem with the way he played. We gave up 40 shots, that's not good."
The teams traded power-play goals in the first period.
Steen poked in a rebound for his 16th goal at the 2:34 mark and Ovechkin answered with his 30th of the season on a blast from the left circle at 9:50.
NOTES: Hitchcock said Shattenkirk, who left the game with a lower-body injury after a collision with Ovechkin, will be evaluated tomorrow. ... Ovechkin (94) passed Peter Bondra (93) for first place on the Capitals' multi-goal games list. He joined Mike Gartner (15 seasons), Wayne Gretzky (13), Jari Kurri and Mike Bossy as 30-goal scorers in at least their first 10 seasons. ... The Capitals reassigned D Cameron Schilling to Hershey of the American Hockey League. ... The Blues were again without C Patrik Berglund and C Jori Lehtera, who both were hurt at Nashville on Thursday night.