EditorsNote: adds “at 12:28” in next-to-last graf
Jakub Vrana’s overtime goal lifted the visiting Washington Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night, a season-opening showdown between the last two Stanley Cup champions.
Alexander Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov also scored for the Capitals, and Lars Eller had two assists. Goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 20 of 22 shots.
Eller had a strong showing after moving up into a scoring-line role with Evgeny Kuznetsov serving the first game of his three-game NHL drug suspension.
Sammy Blais and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues, and Ryan O’Reilly had two assists. Blais exited the game in the third period after absorbing a big hit from Capitals winger T.J. Oshie.
Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington stopped 31 of 34 shots.
The Blues celebrated their first Cup triumph in 52 years during a pregame banner-raising ceremony before facing the 2018 champions.
After the festivities, the Blues came out flying. David Perron converted his neutral-zone takeaway into an immediate offensive opportunity.
His nifty cross-ice feed from the right boards found Blais cutting to the left goal post, and Blais scored just 53 seconds into the game.
With defenseman Michal Kempny still recovering from a torn hamstring muscle, Jonas Siegenthaler stepped up into a bigger role for the Capitals. He took an early slashing penalty that led to a power-play goal.
Pietrangelo hammered a one-time blast past off newcomer Justin Faulk’s feed to put the Blues ahead 2-0.
Ovechkin cut that lead to 2-1 at 15:37 of the first period, beating Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester with a move off the right wing and snapping a shot past Binnington.
The Capitals controlled much of the second period, outshooting the Blues 15-8 overall. They peppered Binnington with 14 unanswered shots during one prolonged stretch, and they tied the score 2-2 with Orlov’s power-play goal at 12:28.
Washington had several chances to win the game in the third period before Vrana finally decided it in overtime. He circled through the offensive zone and beat Binnington with a snap shot 2:51 into the extra session.
—Field Level Media