Backstrom, Holtby lead surging Capitals past Blues, 4-2
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Nicklas Backstrom started a three-goal second period, Braden Holtby made 34 saves, and the surging Washington Capitals beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Monday night.
Alex Ovechkin got his league-leading 46th goal, and Alex Chiasson and Andre Burakovsky also scored to help the Capitals get their seventh win in eight games and 11th in the last 13. Washington secured its third straight Metropolitan Division title one day earlier with a win at Pittsburgh.
Holtby won for the fourth time in his last five starts, and improved to 7-0-0 in seven career starts against St. Louis.
Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrik Berglund scored for the Blues, who lost their second straight. St. Louis began the day one point behind Colorado for the second and final wild card in the Western Conference. The Avalanche played at Los Angeles on Monday night.
Jake Allen finished with 30 saves.
Backstrom, Chiasson, and Burakovsky scored in the first 7:54 of the second period to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead.
Backstrom tied it 1-1 by firing a shot past goalie Jake Allen from close range just 51 seconds into the period, giving him 20 goals in three straight seasons.
Chiasson put Washington ahead with his ninth at 2:39, and Burakovsky gave the Capitals a two-goal lead with his 11th a little more than five minutes later.
Berglund pulled St. Louis within one with 8 1/2 minutes left in the second, but Ovechkin scored into an empty net with 1:31 left in the third.
NOTES: Ovechkin played in his 1,001st NHL game. … The Capitals have won six of their last nine games in back-to-back situations. … St. Louis RW Scottie Upshall is out the rest of the season with a lacerated kidney. … G Allen has started the Blues’ last 13 games. … Washington RW T.J. Oshie was held out of the contest as a precautionary measure. He is nursing a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Capitals: Close the regular season with back-to-back home games against Nashville on Thursday and New Jersey on Saturday.
Blues: Host Chicago on Wednesday before closing with two road games.