Capitals score seven again, rout Blues

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[January 20, 2017]  ST. LOUIS -- T.J. Oshie knows a team doesn't score seven goals and lose a game very often in the NHL.

Having witnessed that first-hand in the Washington Capitals' previous game on Monday night in Pittsburgh, however, Oshie and his teammates made certain it didn't happen again Thursday night in St. Louis.

Oshie was one of seven Capitals to score a goal, and he also contributed an assist as Washington routed the Blues 7-3 to improve its record to 10-0-2 in the past 12 games.

The Blues lost for the fifth time in their past six games at Scottrade Center and gave up five or more goals for the third consecutive home game.

The Capitals scored five or more goals for the fifth consecutive game, the first time they managed that since Feb. 4-11, 2010, Washington scored five-plus for the eighth time in 11 games. Included in that span was an 8-7 overtime loss to the Penguins.

Four of the goals came in a 10-minute span in the second period when the Capitals chased Blues goalie Jake Allen from the game and built a 6-1 lead.

"There was a 5- to 10 minute period where we really turned it on," said Oshie, whose first career goal against his former team ignited the flurry. "We're really finding the net right now. All four lines are rolling."

Oshie's goal came after the Blues pulled within 2-1 just 19 seconds into the second period on Jaden Schwartz's first goal in 12 games. It was followed by goals from Brett Connolly and Marcus Johansson before a power-play goal by Justin Williams capped Washington's four-goal period.

Connolly's goal chased Allen, who had come out for a 2:22 break after allowing the first two goals on three shots on goal in the first period. Allen ended up allowing four goals on 10 shots, and he was removed for the fourth time in his past six starts and the third time in a row.

Allen, who has allowed 10 goals on 36 shots in his past three starts, was not made available to the media after the game.

Johansson's goal came 11 seconds after Carter Hutton replaced Allen. Hutton wound up yielding three goals on eight shots.

"You can't get carried away scoring five, six or seven goals a night, that's not going to last," Williams said. "You ride the highs. You have to understand we are not going to keep scoring like this."

Coach Barry Trotz was happy to see it again on Thursday night.

"We know we're going to have games where it's going to be strange, and tonight I didn't think we played particularly well," Trotz said. "I thought in the first period the Blues had a lot more chances. ... We had some good fortune and goals that went in a little bit easier, a deflection and all that, but I thought in the third we just killed the clock a little bit."

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Capitals center Jay Beagle (83) celebrates with left wing Daniel Winnik (26) after scoring against St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (not pictured) during the first period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals' leading scorer, Alex Ovechkin, did not score a goal but did contribute two assists.

It was a bounce-back performance for Washington goalie Braden Holtby, who was pulled in the second period against Pittsburgh. Holtby allowed only one goal Thursday until the Capitals had a 7-1 lead, with Alexander Steen getting two late goals.

Holtby can empathize with the struggles Allen is going through, as he allowed three or more goals for the fourth consecutive game.

"You never want to see a guy struggle like that," Holtby said. "He's not going to back down."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock admitted the team is in a tough spot when it comes to Allen's recent performance.

"I don't know how far it sets him back," Hitchcock said. "Everything we needed to see, we saw at practice. There's a lot going on right now. He's kind of locked up mentally, and he's going to have to fight through this. We know we are going to need way better just to be competitive. Beating it up any more is not going to do us any good."

Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said the team is going to find a way out of its struggles together.

"This is a team, there's no individuals," Pietrangelo said. "It's got to come from in this locker room. It's a collective effort. Right now, it needs to be better. "

NOTES: D Carl Gunnarsson returned to the Blues' lineup for the first time in eight games, seven of which he missed because of a lower-body injury. He replaced D Joel Edmundson, who was a healthy scratch for the first time in 21 games. ... LW Scottie Upshall, a healthy scratch for the last three games, also was back in the Blues lineup, in place of RW Nail Yakupov. ... Capitals D John Carlson missed his second consecutive game because of a lower-body injury. The Capitals considered calling up another defenseman from the minor leagues for their two-game trip but decided to not make any roster moves. ... The Capitals play Saturday night in Dallas, while the Blues begin a three-game trip Saturday in Winnipeg.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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