BLUES (31-13-4) at CAPITALS (25-14-10)
Season series: The St. Louis Blues defeated the Washington Capitals 4-1 on Nov. 15 in St. Louis. David Backes, Jaden Schwartz and Patrik Berglund each had a goal and an assist for the Blues, and goalie Brian Elliott made 24 saves.
Blues team scope: St. Louis is 9-0-1 in its past 10 games, including a 3-2 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. The Blues have won their two games after the All-Star break in a shootout, with defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk deciding each with a goal. "When [coach Ken Hitchcock] told me I had to go, I was just trying to fight for air on the bench (after overtime) and then watch [T.J. Oshie] go and try to get some sort of idea of what I was going to do," Shattenkirk said. "I was obviously happy, happy to help, and glad [Hitchcock] called me. Obviously you want to go out there and score every time." Elliott will play; he is 6-0-1 in his past seven starts. Backes has a nine-game point streak (eight goals, eight assists). The Blues took off Saturday and spent the day with their dads, who are on the trip.
Capitals team scope: Washington is 1-3-2 in its past six games after a 1-0 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. The Capitals were 7-0-2 in the nine previous games. Goalie Braden Holtby stopped 30 shots but was beaten by Max Pacioretty. "We’re pretty satisfied with that game and a point on the road in Montreal is good for us," defenseman Karl Alzner told the Washington Post. Backup Justin Peters could start, which would be his eighth of the season. Holtby has started 42 games, including 25 of the past 26 and a back-to-back this Tuesday and Wednesday. The Capitals are 18-7-7 since the first game against the Blues. “We’ve come a long way since the last time we played them," Holtby said. "I think that game in St. Louis was a huge eye-opener for us as a group. We realized we had a lot to do to improve, to be a team that can be at an elite level. From that game forward I think we started realizing what we had to do to get to where we are now, because St. Louis played really well against us and we were on our heels all game. I think [Sunday] it’s going to be a lot different; I think we have the capability to do that to them now."