Capitals Vs. Blues: Washington Wins 4-1 On Two Third-Period Goals By Nicklas Backstrom

Nicklas Backstrom scored two goals to put the game away late as the Capitals solved the Jaroslav Halak curse in a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues.

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Capitals Vs. Blues: Washington Wins 4-1 On Two Third Period Goals By Nicklas Backstrom

It appeared the Washington Capitals were going to let another muti-goal lead get away from them Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues. Up by two late in the second period, the Capitals allowed Alexander Semin to beat a screened Semyon Varlamov with 32 second left to pull the Blues to within one.

Nicklas Backstrom didn't allow the late tally to stand.

Backstrom tallied twice in the third period, the first on a rebound of a Mike Knuble shot at 7:06, then again on an empty net goal with 35 seconds remaining, to secure the 4-1 win and the Capitals fourth straight win overall. Washington also received a first period goal from Brooks Laich and  a second period goal from Boyd Gordon to build a 2-0 lead.

Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves to earn his fourth straight win after missing virtually all of the first two months of the season with a groin injury. The win was the Capitals first in St. Louis since October of 1996, a stretch that saw the Capitals go 0-7-1 in St. Louis. It was also the Capitals first game against Jaroslav Halak, the Blues netminder who was instrumental in the Capitals historic first round playoff loss last spring as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.

Several Capitals said before the game that they wanted to exact a bit of revenge on Halak, though the always diplomatic Brooks Laich said he was "indifferent" since Halak no longer plays for the Canadiens. In a bit of irony, it was Laich who tallied the games first goal, as he put home a rebound of a Backstrom shot on the power play at 8:12 of the first period.

Gordon's goal was a bit more fortunate, but counted nonetheless. Gordon's backhander from the goal line bounced up on Halak, and when Halak went to grab it with his catching glove, it bounced out an into the net at 10:02 of the second period.

Wednesday night was the Capitals first since the Tuesday trade that saw forward Tomas Fleischmann shipped to the Colorado Avalance for shutdown defenseman Scott Hannan. Hannan did not suit up against the Blues, but Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau has already said Hannan will make his Capitals debut Thursday night in Dallas against the Stars.

The Capitals did lose veteran defenseman Tom Poti at some point in the second period and he did not return. No announcement was made about Poti's status.

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Capitas Vs. Blues: 2-1 Washington After Two Periods On Fluke Goal By Boyd Gordon

Boyd Gordon found the good fortune in the second period that the Capitals desperatly needed in last spring's playoffs against Jaroslav Halak. Gordon's backhand shot from in tight bounced up on Halak and into the net after Halak was unable to handle the loose puck with his catching glove at 10:02. The goal gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead.

The Blues would get on the board at 19:28 of the period on a goal by Alexander Semin on a turnaround shot from the far boards. John Carlson inadvertently screened Semyon Varlamov who was unable to see the shot. The goal came on the Blues 23rd shot of the game and 10th of the period.

The Blues have outshot the Caps 23-17 through two periods.

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Capitals Vs. Blues: 1-0 Washington After First On Power Play Goal By Brooks Laich

In the first of back to back games against Western Conference opponents, the Washington Capitals are off to a solid start. Brooks Laich scored on the Capitals second power play of the period, a too many men on the ice call against the host St. Louis Blues, on a rebound of a Nicklas Backstrom shot that came from the right circle at 8:12.

The goal came against Blues starting netminder Jaroslov Halak, who was instrumental in the Montreal Canadiens' stunning first round upset of the Capitals in last season's playoffs, allowing just three goals in the last three games of the series.

Laich mentioned before the game that he was "indifferent" about the supposed revenge factor against Halak since he is no longer a member of the Canadiens. Laich, though, did say he wouldn't mind getting a goal against Halak.

Semyon Varlamov, who is making his fourth straight start, was fantastic in the first period, stopping all 13 St. Louis shots, including one dynamite stop on a late first-period power play for the Blues where Varlamov stopped Brad Boyes on a rebound chance from the bottom of the right circle.

Varlamov also thwarted two 2 on 1 chances for the Blues on the Capitals' first power play opportunity. 

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Capitals Vs. Blues: Washington Takes On Jaroslav Halak For First Time Since Playoff Defeat

Boyd Gordon got the fortunate bounce against Jaroslav Halak that the Washington Capitals so desperately needed last spring. Gordon's backhander from in tight bounced off of Halak and into his catching glove. However, Halak was unable to handle the puck and let it fall out of his glove and into the net at 10:02 to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead.

Gordon's and his linemates, Matt Bradley and DJ King, quickly put pressure on Halak after Gordon's tally, but were unable to get a quality shot on net.

The Blues Brandon Crombeen got the Blues on the board at 19:28 on a deflection of an Alexander Steen turnaround shot from the far boards that the screened Semyon Varlamov did not see. The goal came on the Blues 23rd shot of the game and 10th of the period, and ensured that the Blues would once again avoid being shutout by the Capitals as they have yet to in their franchise history.

Washington thwarted the Blues only power play of the period, which came late after Mike Green was whistled for slashing at 14:27.

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