Game 79: Blues Fall to Capitals 4-2

Blues Goals: Vladimir Tarasenko (32), Patrik Berglund (14)

A Quick & Exciting Start

Just 3:38 into the 1st period, Vladimir Tarasenko was able to capitalize. Alex Pietrangelo brought the puck into the zone and sent a nice pass to Kyle Brodziak. Kyle then gave the puck to Tarasenko who made no mistake bringing the puck from his backhand to his forehand to snipe top right corner from between the dots.

Alex Ovechkin and Vladimir Tarasenko had a bit of a shoving match early in the game. Afterward, the two Russians exchanged some words and fans were anticipating more. It sure would have been a treat to see these two stars drop the gloves. That wouldn’t happen though, as Ovi and Vova assumed their original roles.

The Blues were able to draw a penalty and go on the man-advantage in the first frame but registered zero shots on goal. Jake Allen started off strong saving all 8 shots that he faced in the period. The Blues were able to put 7 shots on net and take a 1-0 lead into the second.

An Abrupt Response By The Caps

Within the first minute of the 2nd period, Nicklas Backstrom answered with a goal of his own. Brett Connolly sent a puck into the slot and it hit Backstrom. Nicklas settled it and capitalized on Jake Allen who didn’t really have a chance. It was a quick reaction by Backstrom and a well-placed shot just under the bar.

Just moments after the Capitals tied it up, Alex Chiasson received an absolutely perfect stretch pass from Jakub Jerabek. Both Colton Parayko and Vince Dunn ate Chiasson’s dust as he went one on one with Jake Allen and beat him high on the stick side. They weren’t done yet. Andre Burakovsky scored a beautiful goal with a great individual effort to put the Capitals up by 2.

The Blues Push Back

Patrik Berglund did answer at 11:38 with his 14th of the year to decrease the deficit to 1. The Blues really started running with the momentum from then onto the end of the period. They were playing very well and putting a lot of pressure on the Capitals. St. Louis was able to put 14 shots on goal in the frame and most of them came in the second ten minutes. At the end of the period, Matt Niskanen took a high-sticking penalty. The Blues carried that power play over into the 3rd.

Failing to Capitalize When It Counts

St. Louis had their chances but went 0-4 on the power play in this game. It’s been the story all season as they are now 30th in the league with a 15.3 power play percentage. Caps are no slouches on the kill (80.8%), but jeez. Can you imagine where this team would be right now if there was a decent power play? The Blues put the puck on net, but hardly on the man-advantage. Regardless, Braden Holtby saved 34 of 36 shots.

The Blues gave a strong effort, but hope was lost late in the 3rd period. Some good pressure by the Capitals resulted in Kyle Brodziak taking a high sticking penalty. Alexander Ovechkin then scored his 46th goal of the season on an open net after Jake Allen was pulled to even the attack. Evgeny Kuznetsov had an assist on the goal.

The Playoff Picture

The Blues now have 92 points in 79 games played. The Los Angeles Kings beat the Colorado Avalanche which held them to 93 points with 2 games left to play. So, St. Louis is one point behind with one game in hand. Colorado will play San Jose, and then their last game of the season will be against the Blues.

St. Louis will have 2 games against the Chicago Blackhawks before ending the regular season in Colorado against the Avs. It’s possible the last game might just be the biggest game of the season. Thursday night, Blues fans are Sharks fans.

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