(SportsNetwork.com) – The St. Louis Blues aim to extend a 10-game point streak
and grab a share of first place in the Central Division on Sunday afternoon as
they visit the Washington Capitals.
The Blues picked up a fourth win in a row on Friday, posting a 3-2 shootout
win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk had the winner
in the tiebreaker, scoring as St. Louis’ second shooter before Jake Allen
sealed things with a stop on Eric Staal’s wrister.
Allen made 26 saves, while David Backes and Ryan Reaves scored early to help
the Blues improve to 9-0-1 in their last 10 games.
“This was a big game to win,” said St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock. “We
played back-to-back, and our record was only two games over .500 on the road.
To start off the second half of the season with a big road win is important,
so they deserve a lot of credit.”
Backes’ goal extended his point streak to nine straight games and he has
totaled eight goals and 16 points over the run.
St. Louis is second in the Central Division with 66 points, two ahead of
Chicago and a pair of points back of idle Nashville.
Brian Elliott, who leads the NHL with a 1.95 goals against average, will start
today for the Blues and is 5-2-0 lifetime versus the Capitals with a 3.19 GAA
and .881 save percentage in nine games (8 starts).
The Capitals are in action for a second straight afternoon, having lost a 1-0
overtime decision to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
Braden Holtby, coming off a shutout win over Pittsburgh, made 29 saves, but
gave up the only goal of the game with Montreal’s Max Pacioretty chipped home
a pass with 1:52 left in overtime.
“We’re happy with the way we played against a very good team,” Holtby said.
“There were some big performances on both sides.”
Alex Ovechkin, tied for the league lead with 29 goals, had a big performance
despite not scoring. He logged just over 25 minutes of ice time and had eight
shots on net along with five hits.
However, Washington still fell to 1-3-2 in its last six games and is tied for
third in the Metropolitan Division with the New York Rangers.
Holtby made his 42nd start of the season, tied for second most in the NHL, and
it is unknown if he’ll get the call again today. He has won both of his
previous starts versus the Blues, giving up only two goals on 76 shots.
Backup Justin Peters, meanwhile, is 0-2-0 versus St. Louis while giving up
seven goals on 65 shots for a 3.50 GAA and .892 save percentage.
The Capitals have won four of their past six versus the Blues overall and four
of the last five meetings at home, but St. Louis did notch a 4-1 victory as
the hosting club on Nov. 15.
Elliott made 24 saves and Backes was one of four goal-scorers for the Blues,
while Peters made 30 saves.