Highlights: Capitals 4, Blues 1
How it happened: The Capitals jumped all over the Blues, who had played the night before in St. Louis, chasing goaltender Jaroslav Halak with three goals on their first six shots. Alex Ovechkin scored two of those goals to pull into a first-place tie with Blues center Alexander Steen with 17 goals. Mikhail Grabovski and John Carlson also scored for the Caps.
What it means: The Capitals [12-8-1] have won three in a row and are 8-3-0 on home ice this season. They also moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division, one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins [12-8-0]. The two teams clash for the first time this season on Wednesday at Verizon Center.
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Career night: Caps goalie Braden Holtby recorded a career-high 46 saves to improve his record to 10-6-0.
Shot of the night: When Alex Ovechkin picked up Nicklas Backstrom’s tough pass and rumbled full speed across the blue line 7:17 into the game, it was clear Halak would have no chance on the rocket he launched into the top left corner of the net. Ovechkin’s two goals moves him into the NHL lead with the Blues’ Alexander Steen with 17 goals.
Team USA: Before the game, Team USA assistant general manager Ray Shero, who was pre-scouting the game for the Penguins, said he was keeping a close eye on American defensemen John Carlson of the Caps and Kevin Shattenkirk of the Blues. “We like Carlson a lot,” Shero said. “He’s one of those guys that needs to play well in the first half of the season and he’s really coming on.” Carlson, who was invited to Team USA’s Olympic orientation camp, scored a power-play goal in the second period for his fifth goal in eight games.
Green on IR, Orlov up: Before the game the Capitals placed defenseman Mike Green on injured reserve and recalled Dmitry Orlov from the Hershey Bears. Green, who sat out his second straight game with a lower body bruise, could return to the Caps as early as Wednesday night when the Penguins pay a visit. Orlov, 22, ranks first among Hershey defensemen in points this season, earning eight points [two goals, six assists] in eight games. He has yet to play for the Caps this season.
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What’s ahead: After two games in three nights the Caps will have the day off on Monday and will resume practice at Kettler on Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday night’s showdown with the Penguins.