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Alex Ovechkin gets hat trick, Capitals hang on

Blues score twice in final 1:15 but can't tie game

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick to help the Washington Capitals defeat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 at Verizon Center on Wednesday.

"Sometimes you just feel right away when you have an opportunity to shoot the puck and you feel the puck on your stick and you just go out there and just use the momentum and use your chances," Ovechkin said. "My linemates and my partners gave it to me. You can see all three were kind of good setups and I just had to hit the net."

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored, and Braden Holtby made 18 saves for the Capitals (12-5-2).

 

WATCH: All Blues vs. Capitals highlights

 

Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice, and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues (11-7-3), who got two goals in the final 1:15 but had a four-game winning streak end. Carter Hutton made 21 saves.

Ovechkin scored on the power play at 17:28 of the first period to give Washington a 1-0 lead. His shot from the left circle went top corner on Hutton, who was playing in place of Jake Allen, who made 39 saves in a 4-2 win against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.

Video: STL@WSH: Ovi pots three in win against Blues

Ovechkin gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead at 10:12 of the second period. His first attempt from the left circle was saved by Hutton, but Andre Burakovsky kept the puck in, passed it to John Carlson, who set up Ovechkin.

Tarasenko scored at 10:48 of the second to make it 2-1. His first attempt was saved by Holtby but Tarasenko scored on the rebound past Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner, who dove to block the shot.

"When we mounted the comeback in the second period and we got some momentum back, we got beat up the ice on two of the rushes," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We got caught on the rush and we got beat up the ice."

Kuznetsov scored off a feed from Dmitry Orlov to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead at 6:31 of the third.

Ovechkin's third goal of the game, 12th of the season, was scored at 6:53 of the third period. He came down on the rush unchallenged and scored over Hutton's catching glove. The hat trick was Ovechkin's first of the season and 16th of his NHL career, the most among active players.

Pietrangelo scored on the power play with 1:15 remaining to make it 4-2, and Tarasenko's second goal made it 4-3 with 29 seconds remaining.

Video: STL@WSH: Pietrangelo finishes big rebound for PPG

 

Goal of the game

Kuznetsov scored on the rush off Orlov's pass. Hutton couldn't get to the other post in time and Kuznetsov had an almost wide-open net.

Video: STL@WSH: Kuznetsov taps in Orlov's cross-ice feed

 

Save of the game

Hutton stopped Justin Williams' point-blank one-timer with a swift right-pad kick save.

Video: STL@WSH: Hutton denies Williams' one-timer up close

 

Highlight of the game

The sequence that led to Ovechkin's second goal was almost as impressive as the goal. Burakovsky fed the puck through his legs to Kuznetsov as he skated through the neutral zone. He sent the puck cross-ice to Ovechkin for his first attempt. The rebound skittered toward the boards, and Burakovsky got to it and sent it to Carlson at the point. Carlson set up Ovechkin perfectly for his signature one-timer from the left circle.

Video: STL@WSH: Ovechkin rips a one-timer for second of game

 

Unsung moment of the game

Washington forward Jay Beagle won two neutral-zone faceoffs late in the third period after St. Louis scored two quick goals. Capitals coach Barry Trotz credited Beagle's faceoff wins with helping them maintain puck possession and hold off the Blues.

 

They said it

"They've got a good team over there. Some days you're not going to have it all the time. But how you check, and when you don't use your legs you end up using your stick, and that's what's happening. There was too many of them early in the game. It sends the wrong message to the rest of the team." -- Blues coach Ken Hitchcock

 

"I think [Kuznetsov] was flying today. I hope he's back on his game. When he has confidence, he controls the puck on his stick and he goes back and forth. It helps us as wingers when you see your centerman play well." -- Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin on Evgeny Kuznetsov

 

"He played with an excitement again. That was good. Sometimes we say he's not scoring enough and all that. He was good. I've been reducing the minutes a little bit and spreading them out, and he's fresher. I think that will pay off in the long run. We can play with a faster pace, and if they can skate like that, they're going to score a lot of goals, that group." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin

 

Video: STL@WSH: Tarasenko puts in a backhand for second goal

 

Need to know

Ovechkin's 110 multigoal games are the most in the NHL since 1995-96.

 

What's next

Blues: Host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Capitals: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Friday (5 p.m. MSG-B, CSN-DC, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Caps take the Blues down behind Ovi's hat trick

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