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."