On a milestone afternoon for Alex Ovechkin, it was the St. Louis Blues’ Alex (Steen) who ultimately got the last laugh.
Both forwards scored two goals on Sunday, but Steen also added an assist on Vladimir Tarasenko’s game-winner as the Blues beat the Washington Capitals 4-3. By taking this one, St. Louis continues its winning ways in the form of an 11-game point streak (10-0-1).
Take a look at Steen’s two goals below:
T.J. Oshie was right up there with Steen, generating three points of his own (all assists), along with four hits. Oshie’s most memorable check might have come in the first period when he seemed to leave Brooks Orpik a little groggy.
David Backes was ejected from the game for a boarding hit on Karl Alzner, who scored the 4-3 goal. A makeshift line of Tarasenko, Steen and Oshie played well enough to top the one-two punch of Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.
Here’s a look at that Backes hit, which may draw supplementary discipline:
While this effort was better than the one that netted a 4-1 loss to St. Louis on Nov. 15, the bottom line is that the Capitals lost both games against the Blues in regulation. The Capitals have now dropped six of seven games, and while all of those defeats were by a single goal, this could be a stretch that Washington ends up regretting.
Head coach Barry Trotz doesn’t regret the way backup Justin Peters played, however.
As entertaining and competitive as this contest was, the two teams ultimately continue in their diverging paths.
It might be a Sunday matinee, but the Washington Capitals and the St. Louis Blues aren’t playing a sleepy game. At least not physically.
Kevin Shattenkirk was injured after a collision with Alex Ovechkin and now David Backes’ night is over early after he received a game misconduct and five-minute boarding major for this hit on Karl Alzner:
The Blues might have made that the turning point of the season period instead of the Capitals taking advantage, as St. Louis killed the major power-play opportunity. In fact, Washington only managed two shots on goal on that man advantage.
Not that much later, Alexander Steen scored his second goal so far to give St. Louis a 2-1 lead. We’ll see if there are more fireworks going forward.
Here’s a shot of the hit:
It may take some time to find out if Backes, 30, will be fined or suspended.
The St. Louis Blues have been red-hot lately, and Kevin Shattenkirk has been a big part of their success, but Sunday showed how quickly such things can change.
Shattenkirk took an ugly spill after a collision with Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin in the first period. He won’t return.
It’s currently labeled a lower-body injury, which might be the best news for St. Louis:
Just moments ago, David Backes was ejected for boarding Karl Alzner, so it’s been a physical contest so far. Tune in on NBCSN.
As Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin approaches 30, the milestones are starting to really come.
He hit a very impressive one on Sunday, as he scored his 30th goal of 2014-15, giving him at least that many tallies in 10 straight seasons. As NHL.com’s Adam Vingan notes, Ovechkin is just the fifth player in NHL history to accomplish that feat to start a career, joining Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri and Mike Gartner.
Ovechkin deserves some bonus points for managing this feat even with the 48-game, lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, when he scored 32 goals. This represents his 452nd career regular season tally, so one assumes it might not be long before he hits the big 500 plateau. He tied Rod Brind’Amour for 56th all-time in goals as of this writing.
The 29-year-old found the net today in a familiar way: from the faceoff dot area on the power play (with assists by Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom):
Update: Ovechkin scored his second goal in the second period, giving him 31 on the season and 453 career regular-season tallies.
NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Washington Capitals host the St. Louis Blues at the Verizon Center at 1:00 p.m. ET today. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.
The Washington Capitals saw Braden Holtby fall just short in a goalie duel against Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, and now they must take on the red-hot St. Louis Blues today.
Any way you slice it, the 31-13-4 St. Louis Blues are on a roll right now.
Regarding the team itself, the Blues have generated a point in 10 straight games (9-0-1), including wins in each of two contests since returning from the All-Star break. They’ve been getting great work in net from Brian Elliott while captain David Backes has generated a ridiculous 16 points during a nine-game tear.
The Blues beat the Capitals 4-1 in the two squads’ other meeting earlier this season.
While St. Louis is scorching, the Capitals are struggling a bit, at least after a hot run of their own. They’re now 1-3-2 in their last six contests.
One obvious advantage Washington has is home ice today. They’re 13-5-5 at the Verizon Center, although the Blues haven’t been pushovers away from their own friendly confines, as they have a 12-9-2 road record so far in 2014-15.
It all shapes up to be a serious challenge for the Capitals, yet there are times when overcoming such obstacles can shape breakthroughs.