Ovechkin scores twice to lead Capitals past Blues

Adam Vingan  - Correspondent | Sunday, 11.17.2013 / 9:55 PM

WASHINGTON -- When the St. Louis Blues arrived at Verizon Center to face the Washington Capitals on Sunday, they brought with them Alexander Steen, the only player in the League with more goals than Alex Ovechkin.

Steen did not leave the arena with the same designation.

Ovechkin tied Steen for the NHL goal-scoring lead with two first-period goals, and the Capitals held Steen scoreless for only the fifth time in the Blues' first 19 games, snapping his 13-game point streak as well en route to a 4-1 win, their sixth straight at home.

"We're really happy about this one," said Nicklas Backstrom, who finished with his third three-assist game of the season and 24th since entering the League in 2007-08, the most over that span. "We knew they're a great team, and obviously they played last night and had a long flight. We were aware of that and we wanted to come out hard. We were a little lucky; we scored on our chances there at the beginning, and then I think we just followed our game plan from there."

Braden Holtby made a career-high 46 saves, holding the Blues to a season-low one goal on a season-high 47 shots.

Ovechkin's first goal opened the scoring at 7:17. Steve Oleksy corralled Chris Stewart's clearing attempt and quickly reversed the flow by feeding Backstrom, whose crafty one-touch pass freed a hard-charging Ovechkin. With plenty of space, Ovechkin wound up and fired a slap shot past Jaroslav Halak.

It took a little more than five minutes for Ovechkin to score his second of the game and 17th of the season. Halak was able to knock down Karl Alzner's rising slap shot, set up by a rink-wide pass from Backstrom, but Ovechkin pounced on the rebound before Halak could, backhanding the puck over the goaltender's catching glove to extend Washington's lead to 2-0.

"[Coach Adam Oates] talked about how I have to stay more in the middle of the ice in the offensive zone because lots of pucks go there and I can find the rebound there," Ovechkin said. "It's working."

Mikhail Grabovski made it 3-0 at 15:41 when he chipped a Jason Chimera rebound past Halak, who was then pulled for Brian Elliot after allowing three goals on six shots.

The Blues (13-3-3) and Capitals (12-8-1) entered the game with the best and second-best power-play units, respectively, and the teams' man-advantage units took center stage in the second period. First, Vladimir Sobotka cut St. Louis' deficit to 3-1 when he beat Holtby high to the stick side with a wrist shot from the slot at 5:29.

Washington responded less than four minutes later on a power play of its own when John Carlson's slap shot from the high slot eluded Elliot. In front of USA Hockey brass, Carlson, a 2014 Sochi Olympics hopeful, scored his fifth goal of the season, all of which have come within the past eight games.

"I thought when we made it 3-1, I thought we were really making a comeback," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I thought we really battled. ... I really thought when we made it 3-1, we were going to win the hockey game. I thought we had them on their heels. We were really coming on the forecheck and we were really creating a lot of turnovers. They got that fourth goal, and it kind of took the wind out of our sails."

With the victory, Washington climbed over the idle Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division by one point. The two teams meet for the first time this season Wednesday at Verizon Center. The Blues will continue their three-game road trip against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
07:17WSH Alex Ovechkin (16) ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (17), Steve Oleksy (6) 1 - 0 WSH
12:34WSH Alex Ovechkin (17) ASST: Karl Alzner (4), Nicklas Backstrom (18) 2 - 0 WSH
15:41WSH Mikhail Grabovski (7) ASST: Jason Chimera (9), Joel Ward (5) 3 - 0 WSH
2nd Period
05:29STL PPG - Vladimir Sobotka (3) ASST: Kevin Shattenkirk (13), Jay Bouwmeester (14) 3 - 1 WSH
09:27WSH PPG - John Carlson (5) ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (19), Marcus Johansson (16) 4 - 1 WSH
3rd Period
Three Stars of the Game
Braden Holtby
Braden Holtby
SA: 47TOI: 60:00
GA: 1EV: 34-34
PIM: 0PP: 9-10
SV%: .979SH: 3-3
Nicklas Backstrom
Nicklas Backstrom
G: 0Shots: 1
A: 3Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 19:42
Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin
G: 2Shots: 5
A: 0Hits: 4
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 19:40
Penalty Summary
1st Period
09:44WSH Tyson Strachan  Slashing against  Vladimir Tarasenko
2nd Period
04:05WSH Martin Erat  Hooking against  Alexander Steen
06:05WSH Tom Wilson  Fighting (maj) against  Ryan Reaves
06:05STL Ryan Reaves  Fighting (maj) against  Tom Wilson
06:05WSH Tom Wilson  Roughing against  Ryan Reaves
08:18STL Vladimir Sobotka  Hooking against  Michael Latta
19:14STL Alexander Steen  Cross checking against  Nate Schmidt
3rd Period
09:48WSH Jason Chimera  Interference against  David Backes
10:29WSH Brooks Laich  Hi-sticking against  T.J. Oshie
10:52STL David Backes  Interference against  Nicklas Backstrom
13:41STL David Backes  Roughing against  Nate Schmidt
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/51/4
Faceoff Wins3331
Blocked Shots1222
Penalty Minutes1315
5B. JackmanD0004018:19
9J. SchwartzL0001014:46
10B. MorrowL00-1009:53
12D. RoyC00-12013:47
17V. SobotkaL1009217:43
19J. BouwmeesterD01-12022:33
20A. SteenL00-13219:37
22K. ShattenkirkD0106023:17
25C. StewartR00-22014:25
27A. PietrangeloD00-14025:57
28I. ColeD00-21010:48
40M. LapierreC00-12013:14
42D. BackesR00-12419:04
46R. PolakD00-21015:20
56M. PaajarviL0001010:22
74T. OshieR00-21019:43
75R. ReavesR000058:34
91V. TarasenkoR0006015:29
1B. Elliott1314.92944:19
41J. Halak36.50015:41
8A. OvechkinL2025019:40
10M. EratR0001211:42
19N. BackstromC0321019:42
20T. BrouwerR0000017:42
21B. LaichC0001217:42
23T. StrachanD0000218:17
24A. VolpattiL000009:22
25J. ChimeraL0113213:40
27K. AlznerD0123020:05
34A. UrbomD0010015:51
42J. WardR0110015:30
43T. WilsonR000178:49
46M. LattaC000008:59
61S. OleksyD0110016:44
74J. CarlsonD1021025:01
84M. GrabovskiC1013013:29
88N. SchmidtD0000018:56
90M. JohanssonL0121019:25
70B. Holtby4647.97960:00