WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 03: Jason Arnott #44 of the Washington Capitals celebrates after scoring the game winning goal in the third period against Ty Conklin #29 of the St. Louis Blues at the Verizon Center on March 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Capitals won the game 3-2. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Blues Vs. Capitals: Jason Arnott's Late Goal Helps Caps Beat Blues 3-2

Jason Arnott's first goal as a Capital came just in time in a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.

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Blues Vs. Capitals: Jason Arnott's Late Goal Helps Caps Play Blues In 3-2 Win

When the Washington Capitals acquired Jason Arnott Monday, they knew they were getting an experienced player. Arnott's penchant for late-game heroics also helps.

Arnott's goal with just over five minutes remaining pushed the Caps to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues Thursday.

In a back-and-forth game that saw a slow first period juxtaposed with a fast-paced second period, the Caps took their only lead of the game when it mattered most. Alexander Semin found Arnott on a 2-on-1 at 14:24 to give Arnott his first goal as a Capital.

"You get a 2-on-1 with [Semin] and he's pretty good," Arnott said.

Arnott's goal wasn't the only first Thursday. Scott Hannan also scored his first goal as a Capital as well as his first goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1 at 3:08 of the second period. Hannan would fire a top-shelf wrist shot past Ty Conklin.

"When I see the opportunity, I try to jump in," Hannan said. "Obviously, my end is first and foremost. But if I can help out on that side of the puck, it's anyway I can."

The Blues would reclaim the lead just two minutes later on a B.J. Crombeen goal, but Nicklas Backstrom would tie it up less than two minutes later on what could be best described as a home run swing. Backstrom would bat a Mike Knuble pass out of midair into the net.

"I've been working out with [Washington Nationals third baseman] Ryan Zimmerman this summer," Backstrom said. "I thought Knuble was going to pass it on the ice, but I saw the puck was in the air and I was a little lucky."

The score would remain tied until Arnott's late goal. With the win, coupled with the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, the Caps are just one point behind them in the Southeast Division. The Caps and Lightning will meet Monday.

"It's so important to get that 80-point level and the teams above you now, you can see," head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's not like you're a big distance away so it was good to get to there."

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Blues Vs. Capitals: Fast-Paced Period Ends With 2-2 Score

The Capitals and Blues played through a sleepy first 20 minutes. The second 20 minutes were anything but as the two teams traded three goals within a four-minute span to leave the score 2-2 after the second period.

Scott Hannan scored his first goal of the season and his first as a Capital at 3:08 after a nice feed from Alex Ovechkin. Matt Hendricks won a scrum along the boards and pushed the puck to Ovechkin. Ovechkin found Hannan alone on the right faceoff circle. Hannan took his time and fired a top-shelf wrist shot that beat Ty Conklin.

The tie game would only last about two minutes. After the Caps won a faceoff in the offensive zone, John Erskine pinched on B.J. Crombeen, but Crombeen was able to break free. He would take the puck down the ice by himself and beat Michal Neuvirth with a wrist shot for his sixth goal of the season at 5:14.

Not to be outdone, Nicklas Backstrom would respond on what could be best described as a home run swing. Ovechkin passed the puck to Knuble as he entered the zone. Knuble attempted a pass to Backstrom, but it was deflected in the air. That didn't matter to Backstrom, who swung at the airborne rebound, which then bounced hard on the ice and back up into the goal. Backstrom's 16th of the season came at 6:48.

The Caps are 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. Shots are 19-18 in favor of St. Louis.

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Blues Vs. Capitals: Caps Singing Blues So Far, Trail 1-0 After FIrst Period

For 20 minutes at least, the Capitals are singing the blues.

Alexander Steen's goal has given the St. Louis Blues a 1-0 lead after the first period.

The period got off to a slow start, with the Caps and Blues combining for only seven shots through the first 10 minutes. The Blues, however, would score on their third shot of the game at 11:25 when Chris Stewart sent a cross-ice pass through the slot and found Steen open for the tap-in to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.

The Caps would get a power play chance after a Carlo Colaiacovo penalty and had several chances, including a wide-open look from Mike Knuble that went wide right in front of the crease, but could not score.

Shots are 10-5 in favor of the Blues.

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Blues Vs. Capitals: Starting Lineup

Here is tonight's starting lineup for the Washington Capitals as they prepare to face off against the St. Louis Blues at Verizon Center.

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Arnott-Semin
Chimera-Johansson-Sturm
Hendricks-Gordon-Bradley

Alzner-Carlson
Schultz-Hannan
Erskine-Wideman

Michal Neuvirth will start in goal with Braden Holtby backing him up.

The scratches are Jay Beagle, Tyler Sloan and D.J. King. Mike Green is still in Calgary mourning the loss of his grandmother and will not play tonight. He will rejoin the team in Florida this weekend during their two-game road trip.

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Blues Vs. Capitals: Caps Hope That Playing Blues Doesn't Bring Disappointment

A new era of Washington Capitals hockey began Tuesday in a thrilling comeback victory. While that game almost ended in disappointment, Washington hopes that playing the St. Louis Blues doesn't bring any sadness Thursday.

Recent acquisitions Marco Sturm, Dennis Wideman and Jason Arnott made their respective debuts in Tuesday's victory over the New York Islanders. A energetic start didn't bear any results, but Arnott's centering pass to Brooks Laich tied the game at 1-1 with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Alex Ovechkin would cap off an end-to-end rush to score the game-winning goal in overtime.

The newest Caps will help fill in injury-depleted positions, especially defense. Mike Green continues to recover from head injuries and is in Calgary mourning the loss of his grandmother. Green will meet up with the team in Florida on their weekend road trip, meaning that he will sit out yet another game Thursday. Meanwhile, Eric Fehr practiced Wednesday and he is optimistic that he will return shortly.

Both Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov missed practice Wednesday. Neuvirth took the day off, while Varlamov is still suffering from a knee injury.

Washington will be in for a test because St. Louis is a desperate team. The Blues have lost five of six and currently sit 13th in the Western Conference. When these two teams last met December 1, the Caps finally solved Jaroslav Halak, the former Montreal Canadiens goaltender who played a big role in eliminating them from the playoffs last season. Caps fans will have to wait to give Halak a piece of their minds; he has a broken hand and will not play.

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