Game Report: Capitals 4, Blues 3

Alex Ovechkin’s hat trick helped the Capitals cruise past the Blues Wednesday night in Washington, D.C.

The Blues looked fatigued throughout the second game of the back-to-back after a 4-2 win Tuesday night in Boston against the Bruins.

Ovechkin capitalized on a tired Blues squad with goals in all three periods and Evgeny Kuznetsov added another for the Capitals. Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice and Alex Pietrangelo added another for the Blues as backup goaltender Carter Hutton took the loss in a rare start after Jake Allen played on Tuesday night.

A penalty filled first period prevented any sustained flow to the opening 20 minutes as the Blues and Capitals combined for six minor penalties.

The Blues looked listless generating only two shots on goals in the period. That play, along with penalty trouble, finally caught up to St. Louis as Ovechkin scored his 10th goal of the season on the power play at 17:28.

Ovechkin fired one of his patented shots from the top of the left faceoff circle following a pass from Kuznetsov below the goal line that made its way past two Blues penalty killers. Nicklas Backstrom also assisted on the goal.

The second period continued to be controlled by the Capitals with 12 shots on goal to the Blues’ eight and Washington seemed to take full control on Ovechkin’s second goal of the night at 10:12 for a 2-0 lead.

A rush that began with an Ovechkin slap shot that just missed wide started pressure in the Blues defensive zone that led to defenseman John Carlson sending a cross-ice pass to Ovechkin for a one-time near the left boards that Ovechkin blasted by Hutton.

The Blues were in need of some type of spark to get them back in the game and it came just 36 seconds after Ovechkin’s second goal when fellow countryman Tarasenko was able to put the Blues on the board with a terrific individual effort.

Dmitrij Jaskin got the puck to Tarasenko in the slot who followed up when his initial shot was saved by Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and fired a rebound into the back of the net for his eighth of the season.

The Blues had a great chance to even the score when Patrik Berglund generated a turnover at the offensive blueline and carried the puck in on a partial break towards Holtby. However, Berglund elected to make a blind, backhanded pass to an out of reach Scottie Upshall instead of shooting the puck.

On the ensuing play, Kuznetsov scored on a rush at 6:31 for his third of the season to regain the Capitals two goal lead.

Ovechkin scored the game-winning goal on his 16th NHL career hat trick on a two-on-one rush in which he elected to fire a laser wrist shot top shelf past Hutton at 6:53.

Pietrangelo scored a power play goal with 1:15 remaining in regulation following a Paul Stastny shot that produced a rebound to Pietrangelo’s stick to cut the deficit to 4-2.

The Blues made the game interesting late as Tarasenko scored on a rebound in front of the net with Hutton pulled with only 29 seconds remaining in regulation but that was as close as the Blues could come to an improbable comeback as they fall 4-3.

Of Note: Ovechkin’s hat trick marked his eighth multi-point game and second hat trick in 14 career games against the Blues. Ovechkin’s two hat tricks have come in his last two games against the Blues, with the first coming April 9 last season in St. Louis… Forward Alexander Steen continues to skate in St. Louis as he recovers from an upper-body injury. Steen could return in the Blues next game on Saturday night… The loss snapped the Blues’ season-high four game winning streak.

Between the Pipes: Holtby had an easy night between the pipes as the Blues were only able to generate 21 shots on goal with many of those occurring after the Capitals had the three-goal lead in the third period. Hutton made 21 saves and was left hung out to dry by the Blues skaters throughout the night as his record fell to 2-4-0 on the season.

Looking Ahead: The Blues are off until Saturday when they host the Minnesota Wild at Scottrade Center.