NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, November 17th
(All times Eastern)
St. Louis Blues (13-2-3) at Washington Capitals (11-8-1), 6 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Alex Ovechkin sees himself looking up at an unlikely
challenger for the league's goal-scoring lead.
The red-hot Alexander Steen will try to keep up his incredible scoring pace
for the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night when they square off against
Ovechkin's Washington Capitals.
A three-time winner of the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the league's top
goal scorer in a season, Ovechkin is currently second in the NHL with 15
goals, having scored five in his past six games.
He trails only Steen, who has notched 17 in 18 games this season after potting
just eight goals in 40 games a season ago. Steen is currently riding an NHL-
high 13-game point streak, with 13 goals and five assists over the run.
Steen is the first Blues player to post a point streak of that length since
Pierre Turgeon's 15-game run in 1999-2000. The 29-year-old had the game-
winning goal in last night's 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, scoring
6:20 into the third period after his club had yielded a pair of short-handed
goals that tied the game late in the middle frame.
"I thought we came out with good jump in the third period. We had two solid
shifts to get it going," said Steen, who also had an assist to give him an
NHL-high 26 points on the campaign.
T.J. Oshie capped things with an empty-net goal and Roman Polak and David
Backes also had goals in the game. Brian Elliott had 18 saves as St. Louis
wrapped its homestand 4-0-1 with its eighth victory in 10 games.
The Blues matched the 1990-91 team's record with 13 wins in their first 18
games of the season and moved to 6-1-0 this campaign versus the Eastern
Conference. St. Louis' 30-8-5 record in interconference play since 2010-11
leads the league.
The Blues recorded a 2-1 victory in Washington the last time they faced the
Capitals on Nov. 29, 2011. They have 11 victories and a tie in the previous 16
encounters in this series, snapping a three-game road slide to the Caps in the
Jaroslav Halak is slated to start tonight for the Blues and is 4-3-0 with a
2.44 goals against average in his career versus the Capitals.
Washington also comes in on a roll, having gone 6-1-1 in its last eight games.
The Caps rallied for a pair of third-period goals on Friday versus Detroit to
force overtime, then won a 4-3 decision thanks to Nicklas Backstrom's lone
Ovechkin and Michael Latta scored in the third period, with Latta notching his
first goal in the NHL in his 10th career game. Brooks Laich also had a goal
and Braden Holtby made 34 saves.
"You need to have wins like this to grow as a team and gain some consistency,"
said Holtby. "This game is a credit to our guys for being confident in each
other and keep pushing."
Washington was without defenseman Mike Green due to a lower-body injury.
Holtby has never before faced the Blues.
Ovechkin has just two goals in seven career games versus the Blues, but has
added seven assists. Steen has four goals and five assists in 17 games versus
11/17 10:27:08 ET