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St. Louis at Washington

Trade acquisition Arnott nets winner for Capitals

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that Jason Arnott has adjusted so quickly to playing for the Washington Capitals.

After all, the veteran center certainly knows a thing or two about being thrust into new surroundings.

Arnott scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:19 left, and the Capitals beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Thursday for their third consecutive victory.

Playing in his second game since being acquired in a trade with New Jersey, Arnott took a crossing pass from Alexander Semin and beat goalie Ty Conklin with a slap shot from the left circle.

"It's just an experienced move," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He was already in a shooting position."

The 36-year-old Arnott got an assist on the tying goal against the New York Islanders in his Washington debut Tuesday night.

The Capitals are the fifth team that Arnott has played for over a 17-year career, and it didn't take long for him to blend in with his new teammates.

"He's been around this league for a long time," Boudreau said. "He's being used in a different situation than he was for most of the year, so I think he's excited about playing."

Arnott was seeing less and less ice time with the Devils before being traded to the Capitals, where he has become an instant sensation on the offensive end -- for now.

"Yeah, there's times where you've got to grind it out and just play solid D and there's going to be games or shifts where you don't get offensive opportunities," Arnott said.

Until then, Arnott will be happy to provide the Capitals with much-needed scoring punch.

"We're talking a lot on the bench," Arnott said. "If we keep that up, hopefully our chemistry will keep going."

Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth stopped 25 shots to set a franchise record for wins by a rookie with 21. The 22-year-old topped Bob Mason, who won 20 in 1986-87.

Alex Ovechkin had two assists for the Capitals, who have won two in a row at home for the first time since Nov. 26-28. They're also riding their first three-game winning streak since Dec. 26-Jan. 1, and now are within one point of first-place Tampa Bay in the Southeast Division.

"We can see the guys above us now," Boudreau said.

Alexander Steen and B.J. Crombeen scored for the Blues, who were coming off two straight shutout losses to Calgary. St. Louis has dropped six of seven.

"We played much better tonight, but it obviously doesn't mean much when you don't get two points," said Crombeen, who applauded the Capitals for adding Arnott.

"He's a high-end player, and any time you can add someone like that to the lineup it makes you a better team," Crombeen said.

Washington trailed 1-0 until Scott Hannan scored at 3:05 of the second period on a slap shot from the right circle. It was the defenseman's first goal since Nov. 23, 2009 -- a span of 118 games.

The tie lasted just over two minutes. Crombeen gained possession of the puck off a faceoff in the Washington end, skated up the right side and whipped a shot past Neuvirth for a 2-1 lead.

It didn't take long for Washington to pull even again. Mike Knuble's pass from the left circle was deflected into the air to Niklas Backstrom, who took a hack at it around his waist with a baseball swing. The puck one-hopped into the net past the stunned Conklin at 6:48.

Despite outshooting the Blues 10-6, Washington was held scoreless in the first period for a sixth consecutive game.

Steen put St. Louis up 1-0 at 11:25 of the period, scoring off a fine cross-ice pass from Chris Stewart. The goal ended the Blues' scoreless run at 133 minutes, 32 seconds -- dating to the third period of a Feb. 25 win over Edmonton.

The lead wouldn't last.

"We need to find a way to win games," Blues forward David Backes said. "There's no question that's a good team, but if we plan on being a good team we need to find ways to play with the best."

Notes

  • Washington has an NHL-low 38 first-period goals.
  • Crombeen's goal ended his 13-game run without a point.
  • The Capitals recalled G Braden Holtby from Hershey of the AHL and assigned G Todd Ford to Hershey.
  • The Capitals swept the season series 2-0. The Blues' last victory in Washington was on Jan. 28, 2003.
  • Steen's goal was only his third in 21 games.
  • Ovechkin has at least one point in seven of his past eight games.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jason Arnott enjoys his goal after beating Ty Conklin with a slap shot from the left faceoff circle. (Getty Images)
Jason Arnott enjoys his goal after beating Ty Conklin with a slap shot from the left faceoff circle. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
St. Louis (28-27-9)1102
Washington  (35-20-10) «0213
Three Stars
J. Arnott
WAS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
A. Ovechkin
WAS


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
A. Steen
STL


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
11:25 - Alexander Steen (18), Wrist Shot. Assist: Stewart, Jackman
2ND PERIOD
03:08 - Scott Hannan (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Ovechkin, Hendricks
05:14 - B.J. Crombeen (6), Wrist Shot, Unassisted.
06:48 - Nicklas Backstrom (16), Tip-In. Assist: Knuble, Ovechkin
3RD PERIOD
14:41 - Jason Arnott (14), Snap Shot. Assist: Semin, Laich
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
04:26Arnott, 2 min, Slashing
16:04Colaiacovo, 2 min, Holding the Stick
18:58Strachan, 5 min, Fighting
18:58Bradley, 5 min, Fighting
2ND PERIOD
12:19Knuble, 2 min, Hooking
15:33Semin, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
STL613827
WAS1081230
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Ty Conklin58:32273
Michal Neuvirth60:00252
Game Information
Attendance - 18398
Referees - Marc Joannette, Kyle Rehman
Linesmen - Scott Cherrey, Jean Morin
 
Other Games
TB 1 Final
Bos 2
Buf 2 Final
OT
Car 3
Tor 3 Final
Phi 2
Min 3 Final
NYR 1
Ott 3 Final
Atl 1
Mon 4 Final
Fla 0
Colu 2 Final
Edm 4
Nash 3 Final
Van 0
Pho 0 Final
LA 1
Det 1 Final
SJ 3