WASHINGTON (AP) — Newcomer Jason Arnott scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:19 left, and the Washington Capitals beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Thursday night for their third straight victory.
Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth stopped 25 shots to set a franchise record for wins by a rookie with 21. The 22-year-old topped Bob Mason, who won 20 in 1986-87.
Playing in his second game since being acquired in a trade with New Jersey, Arnott took a crossing pass from Alexander Semin and beat goalie Ty Conklin with a slap shot from the left circle. The 36-year-old Arnott got a key assist against the New York Islanders in his Washington debut Tuesday night.
Alex Ovechkin had two assists for the Capitals, who have won two in a row at home for the first time since Nov. 26-28. They’re also riding their first three-game winning streak since Dec. 26-Jan. 1.
Alexander Steen and B.J. Crombeen scored for the Blues, who were coming off two straight shutout losses to Calgary. St. Louis has dropped six of seven.
Washington trailed 1-0 until Scott Hannan scored at 3:05 of the second period on a slap shot from the right circle. It was the defenseman’s first goal since Nov. 23, 2009 – a span of 118 games.
The tie lasted just over 2 minutes. Crombeen gained possession of the puck off a faceoff in the Washington end, skated up the right side and whipped a shot past Neuvirth for a 2-1 lead.
It didn’t take long for Washington to pull even again. Mike Knuble’s pass from the left circle was deflected into the air to Niklas Backstrom, who took a hack at it around his waist with a baseball swing. The puck one-hopped into the net past the stunned Conklin at 6:48.
Despite outshooting the Blues 10-6, Washington was held scoreless in the first period for a sixth consecutive game.
Steen put St. Louis up 1-0 at 11:25 of the period, scoring off a fine cross-ice pass from Chris Stewart. The goal ended the Blues’ scoreless run at 133 minutes, 32 seconds – dating to the third period of a Feb. 25 win over Edmonton.
NOTES: Washington has an NHL-low 38 first-period goals. … Crombeen’s goal ended his 13-game run without a point. … The Capitals recalled G Braden Holtby from Hershey of the AHL and assigned G Todd Ford to Hershey. … The Capitals swept the season series 2-0. The Blues’ last win in Washington was on Jan. 28, 2003. … Steen’s goal was only his third in 21 games. … Ovechkin has at least one point in seven of his last eight games.
Copyright Associated Press