January 7, 2018 / 11:23 PM / in a year

Backstrom's breakaway goal lifts Capitals over Blues in OT

Nicklas Backstrom scored on a breakaway at 4:17 of overtime Sunday as the Washington Capitals downed the St. Louis Blues 4-3 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

T.J. Oshie took the puck away from Colton Parayko at the Washington blue line and zipped a diagonal pass to Backstrom near the St. Louis blue line. Joel Edmundson couldn’t catch Backstrom, and he roofed a wrist shot over Carter Hutton for his ninth goal.

The Capitals (26-13-5) extended their Metropolitan Division lead over New Jersey to three points, while the Blues (26-16-3) lost for the second time in as many days but picked up a point to edge ahead of Nashville for second place in the Central Division.

St. Louis forced overtime with Carl Gunnarsson’s first goal in 27 games, a point shot at 15:51 of the third period that deflected off Alex Ovechkin and eluded goaltender Braden Holtby.

After being outshot 17-6 in the second period and falling behind 2-1, the Capitals pieced together a response midway through the third period. Three seconds after Jay Bouwmeester skated to the penalty box for a tripping minor on Jakub Vrana, Ovechkin unloaded a classic one-timer from the left circle for the tying goal at 8:00, his 27th.

Lars Eller gave Washington the lead less than three minutes later. Hutton stopped Oshie’s wrister from the right wing, but the rebound spit out to the left wing. Eller snapped a shot that deflected off Hutton’s side and into the net at 10:49 for his sixth marker of the year.

Brett Connolly opened the scoring for the Capitals at 13:15 of the first period. With Gunnarsson in the box for holding, Connolly deflected Ovechkin’s wrister past Hutton for his ninth goal.

St. Louis wiped out the one-goal deficit at the 1:18 mark of the second period. The Capitals failed to mark Vladimir Tarasenko as he skated into the slot. Ivan Barbashev fed Tarasenko, and he beat Holtby with a wrister to the stick side for his 18th goal.

Alexander Steen untied the score less than four minutes later on the power play, deflecting Brayden Schenn’s one-timer from the right circle by Holtby for his sixth goal.

Holtby (24-8-0) made 31 saves, while Hutton (8-3-1) stopped 29 of 33 shots.

—Field Level Media

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