WASHINGTON (AP) Three's a relief for the St. Louis Blues.
Thanks to three goals in under five minutes, St. Louis beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals 4-1 Monday night to put together its first three-game winning streak of the season.
The Blues were the only team in the NHL not to win three in a row, and after a rough start are now just three points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
''It took a while,'' said winger David Perron, who has five goals and nine assists during his career-best 11-game point streak. ''It's a lot of steps in the right direction, and I think we can start feeling that our games are getting important.''
This game featured goals by Ivan Barbashev, Vince Dunn and Perron in a span of 4:42 to bounce back from Alex Ovechkin's league-leading 33rd goal of the season. Dunn banked the puck in on a double deflection for his first goal since October and assisted on Perron's goal with a back-handed pass from along the boards.
Just as Dunn dealt with some frustrating times during his 33-game goal drought, St. Louis is finally feeling good and getting rewarded. With the victory, the Blues climbed above .500 at 13-11-1 since interim coach Craig Berube took over for Mike Yeo.
''We're really building confidence,'' Dunn said. ''I think we're now kind of all buying in together, we're playing as a team and everyone's really doing their part.''
And the Blues are getting good goaltending. Following the lead of rookie Jordan Binnington, who went 3-0-0 last week, Jake Allen made 28 saves to pick up his first victory since Jan. 3 - which also came against the Capitals.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored on the power play in the third period and has eight goals in his past eight games. St. Louis has won six of its past seven on the road, and Allen is among the league's best goalies away from home.
''Ask my magic genie,'' Allen said. ''I guess it's fun shutting teams down in their own building. I'll take it.''
Ovechkin took over sole possession of sixth in NHL history with his 238th career power-play goal and tied Dave Andreychuk at 14th on the all-time list with the 640th goal of his career. But that was little consolation for the Capitals after a flat performance in their second consecutive loss.
''We didn't play the right way, we didn't play well and you can see the result,'' Ovechkin said. ''It was bad play, bad game.''
Capitals backup Pheonix Copley allowed four goals on 37 shots in his first game against his former team. Copley got the start over All-Star Braden Holtby, who injured his left eye Saturday when he took a stick to the face through his mask.
This game wasn't as much on Copley as an example of the Blues showing they might be the playoff contender they were supposed to be before the season.
''That's our goal,'' center Ryan O'Reilly said. ''We're fighting to get in. We have an opportunity here and that's what we want.''
NOTES: With two assists, O'Reilly now has seven in his past seven games. ... Capitals D Brooks Orpik played in his 1,000th regular-season game. Orpik is the first player in NHL history to reach 1,000 with fewer than 20 career goals. ... Copley was originally signed by Washington, traded to St. Louis in 2015 and traded back in 2017. ... Capitals 2013 draft pick Zach Sanford, who went to the Blues in the 2017 trade between the teams, played his first game against Washington.
Capitals: Look to end their two-game skid when they travel to Nashville to face the Predators on Tuesday.
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