Blues Take Out Capitals After Bad-Blood Battle


The St. Louis Blues (32-13-4) defeated the Washington Capitals (25-15-10) 4-3Sunday afternoon in Washington D.C.  The Blues arrived in the Capitol, with many of their fathers, following a 3-2 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes Friday night in St. Louis which extended their hot streak to 9-0-1.  The Capitals haven’t done as well with a record of 4-3-3 in their last 10.  The last meeting between these two teams resulted in a 4-1 win for the Blues.

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Chris Porter, Patrik Berglund and Jori Lehtera remained out due to injury.  Dmitrij Jaskin, Joakim Lindstrom and AHL call-up Ty Rattie filled these vacancies on the third line.  After a night off Brian Elliot got a start in the net.

This win allows the Blues to maintain their pursuit of the first place spot in the Central Division which is currently held by the Nashville Predators.  Nashville was in position to win their same-day game after two periods, though, which would keep them two points ahead.  This win also puts the Chicago Blackhawks, who had the day off, 4 points behind in third place.

The Blues have recently become a lead horse in the Western Conference and League standings as well, sitting third behind only the Predators and Anaheim Ducks.


The game started with a lot of heavy hits and physicality.  Within 1:30 Jay Beagle went to the box for slashing.  After two heavy shots from T.J. Oshie, Alexander Steen caught a rebound and scored at 2:34 to put the Blues up 1-0.  Jaden Schwartz and Oshie earned assists.

Feb 1, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing Alexander Steen (20) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals in the first period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

At 6:35, following a lot of action and heavy hits Kevin Shattenkirk left the ice after he slid into the boards. At 8:51 Ryan Reaves went to the box for interference.  After a lot Capitals pressure, Alex Ovechkin found a sliver of net and scored on the power play to tie the game 1-1.

At 12:19 the Blues took another penalty, this time Ian Cole for roughing.  The Blues came close to gaining a break but spent most of the kill on defense until Cole returned.  Play continued to be physical with both teams not allowing the other much of a chance.  The period ended tied 1-1 with a lot of bad blood between the teams.

At the start of the second period, the Blues decided Shattenkirk wouldn’t return.  34 seconds in, Beagle took another penalty, this time for high-sticking. The Blues couldn’t get much of an opportunity until the final power play seconds but were unable to score.

Feb 1, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; St. Louis Blues center David Backes (42) is escorted off the ice by referee Gord Dwyer (19) after receiving a game misconduct for boarding Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner (not pictured) in the second period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

At 5:25 David Backes was charged with boarding Karl Alzner and eventually a game misconduct after it was discovered Alzner was bleeding.  The Blues went on a 5 minute major kill and Backes left the game.  The Blues put up good defense in the first two minutes and Barret Jackman and Paul Stastny gained a break and a shot.  With a minute remaining, the Blues continued to hold the Capitals back.  The Blues cleanly killed the major.

The Blues took two great breakaways, the first by Reaves and Steve Ott and the second by Steen, Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko.  On the second, at 11:45, Alexander Steen scored on his own rebound to put the Blues up 2-1.  Oshie and Tarasenko gained assists.

At 13:24 Oshie and Brooks Orpik went to the box for roughing to put play 4 on 4.  Then at 13:40 Ovechkin put another puck in the net to tie the game at 2.  At 15:24 play went back to 5 on 5.  Then at 15:57 Dmitrij Jaskin scored to put the blues up 3-2.  Schwartz and Stastny received the assists.

At 17:59 Alex Ovechkin was charged with tripping.  The Blues failed to score on the power play and the period ended with a score of 3-2 Blues.

I’ve had 100 goals and 100 fights… I’m ready to go any time… and I’ll sign my stick stick for you, too, and you can put it up in your bedroom. -Steve Ott

The third period continued to be physical and fast with a lot of chirping between the benches, especially between Ott and Wilson.  After 6:13 Steen passed to Tarasenko who scored to give the Blues a 4-2 lead.  Oshie received the second assist which was his third of the game.

With ten minutes left in the game, the players’ hostility began to rise.  Then at 12:28 Alzner scored from the point to bring the game to 4-3.  The Blues continued to hold on to their lead in the last five minutes but the Capitals put up a lot of pressure.  With 50 seconds left the Capitals emptied their net but the Blues managed to hold on and closed the game with a 4-3 win.


As much as I dislike cliches, every cloud has its silver lining.  The Blues have been battling injury for two games now and a lot of their key players are out.  Okay, Patrik Berglund may not be clutch, but he’s good in the circle.  Jori Lehtera, likewise, has been cold but is still a big skill guy.  Hitchcock has been forced to shift some of his players around and after Shattenkirk and Backes left this game he had to make additional adjustments.

This situation and these moves may have been an excellent chance to see what the team is really made of and to illustrate their depth.

Alexander Steen held up extremely well and had a hand in a lot of the Blues’ goals this game.  T.J. Oshie, too.  Oshie was present in both scoring as well as enforcing.  Vladimir Tarasenko broke his scoreless streak with a beautiful goal in the third period and had an additional second chance in the late minutes.  I suppose reloading a tank’s gun takes a while.

But the line that did the best and continues to do so is the fourth line of Ryan Reaves, Steve Ott and Marcel Goc.  Recently these three have been earning points for the Blues on a regular basis.  They have a history maintaining excellent offensive zone pressure as well.  With two handicapped lines, these three gained some much due ice time and did not disappoint.

Dec 3, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Blues center Steve Ott (9) warms up prior to a game against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Not only did they gain ice time but they were key in penalty kill situations.  It seems that Steve Ott and Ryan Reaves are excellent at turning a short-handed situation into a breakaway, as they did this numerous times.  While they may not have notched any points into their sticks this game they took chances and kept the puck in the Cap’s zone.

Ott is also becoming known for his trash talk between plays.  In an earlier game he scored after being discredited for goals by an opponent.  In this game he had this to say to Tom Wilson of the Capitals, “I’ve had 100 goals and 100 fights… I’m ready to go any time… and I’ll sign my stick stick for you, too, and you can put it up in your bedroom.”

It is now clear, the Blues do not have a fourth line and hopefully we will see these three with more ice time and as a bigger part of special teams rather than a three line fatigue stop-gap.

However, the Blues are going to have to continue to work on their power plays and penalty kills if they want to stay competitive and hold on to their position.

What are your thoughts?  Leave a comment below.

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