NHL Game Summary - St. Louis at Washington
(Thursday, March 3rd)
Final Score: Washington 3, St. Louis 2
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Jason Arnott scored his first goal for the Capitals late in the third period, and Washington held on for a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues at Verizon Center.
The Capitals acquired Arnott from New Jersey on Monday, and the center had an assist in Tuesday's overtime win against the Islanders. His go-ahead score Thursday allowed Washington to extend its winning streak to three games.
Nicklas Backstrom and Scott Hannan also scored for the Capitals, while Michal Neuvirth made 25 saves.
The victory, combined with Tampa Bay's loss to Boston on Thursday, pulled the Capitals within a point of the Southeast Division-leading Lightning.
"Keep my fingers crossed. It's not over yet. I think there's still a few games left," said Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. "But it makes it closer. We can see the guys above us now, which is really good."
Alexander Steen and B.J. Crombeen lit the lamp in the Blues' third consecutive loss, and sixth in their last seven games. Ty Conklin stopped 27-of-30 shots.
In a 2-2 game, the Capitals used a neutral zone turnover to get the game- winning goal. The timing of the turnover allowed Arnott and Alexander Semin to set up a 2-on-1.
Semin drew the lone St. Louis defender, leaving Arnott open on the left side to finish the cross-ice pass. His one-timer gave Washington the lead with 5:19 to play, and Neuvirth held steady in net to secure the victory.
"We turn one over, and it's the winning goal," said Blues head coach Davis Payne. "It's how quickly it can turn, but we know we played a good hockey team."
Steen netted the only goal of the first period, when he raced behind the Capitals defense on a rush. Chris Stewart's cross-ice pass from the right wing passed by several Washington players and enabled Steen's tally at 11:25.
The score ratcheted up early in the second frame, when the teams lit the lamp three times in less than four minutes.
Hannan, open at the inside edge of the right circle, lifted a wrister over Conklin's shoulder at 3:08 to tie the game.
But Crombeen put St. Louis back on top a little more than two minutes later when he carried the puck into Capitals' zone along the right boards on a 2- on-1 rush, faded toward the slot and fired a wrister past Neuvirth.
Washington gained a scoring opportunity shortly thereafter thanks to a long pass from John Carlson to Alex Ovechkin at the blue line. Ovechkin re-directed the pass to Mike Knuble, who had the puck poke-checked into the air by a sliding Carlo Colaiacovo.
But Backstrom was there to swat it down and into the net at 6:48, evening the contest again.
Ovechkin finished with two assists...Washington swept the two-game season series...Arnott's goal was his 899th career point.
03/04 01:46:42 ET