The St. Louis Blues traveled to Washington, DC to face the Capitals, winners of eight straight at Capital One Arena 24 hours after losing to the Flyers in Philadelphia. In a tight contest that required extra time it was Nicklas Backstrom ultimately extending Washington’s streak to nine games with the overtime winner.
Here’s Sunday afternoon's Plus/Minus:
Plus: Matt Niskanen made his return to the lineup, suiting up for his first contest of the new year after missing a game (his 14th of the season) due to injury.
Minus: Washington allowed St. Louis to carry play through the first forty minutes of the contest. The Blues could’ve put the game out of reach if not for strong goaltending from Braden Holtby.
Ten more notes on the game.
- The Capitals connected on their second power play of the contest to get an early lead in the first period. A hard wrist shot from Alex Ovechkin was redirected by Brett Connolly atop the crease for an early lead.
- Washington would hold that lead through the first intermission but early in the second period Vladimir Tarasenko ripped a hard shot into the net from the slot to knot the score at one. St. Louis’ quick transition from defense to offense and a smart pass from Ivan Barbashev were all Tarasenko would need.
- And Alexander Steen would extend the Blues’ lead to two less than four minutes later with a power play tally. A hard shot from Brayden Schenn deflected off of Steen and through Holtby’s right arm for the two goal lead.
- It would take Washington 9:31 to register their first shot of the second period. By that time St. Louis had already registered eleven shots on goal in the middle frame. Through the first forty minutes the Blues held a 24 to 14 shot advantage.
- But early in the third period Ovechkin had time and space with the man advantage and he tied the game with a wicked shot from his office. John Carlson and Backstrom picked up assists on the goal.
- The man advantage opportunity was created by a fantastic rush from Jakub Vrana who drew a minor penalty against Jay Bouwmeester with his speed.
- Only two minutes later Lars Eller put the Capitals back in the lead by burying a long rebound up and over Carter Hutton’s stick. A strong original shot from T.J. Oshie generated Eller’s chance and he made no mistake against his former club.
- With four minutes to play Carl Gunnarsson sent a shot into traffic which found its way behind Holtby to draw St. Louis even once again.
- A little more than halfway through overtime Backstrom skated in alone and buried a shot high over Hutton for the Washington win.
- St. Louis entered this afternoon’s game with a 20-0-0 record this season when leading after two periods of play. Make that 20-0-1 as of tonight.