Capitals Start Late (Again), Rally, But Fall To Blues In Shootout: Post-Game Analysis

Photo: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals fell to the St. Louis Blues, 5-4 (SO) Thursday night in St. Louis. The Capitals gave an early 3-0 lead to the Blues in the first period and battled back for a 4-4 tie at the end of regulation. The Blues would take the extra point in the seventh-round of the shootout. The shootout loss drops the Capitals record to 7-9-3 (17 points) on the season.

The Capitals lines and pairs for Thursday night’s tilt with the Blues in St. Louis:

Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Aliaksei Protas
Sonny Milano – Dylan Strome – Conor Sheary
Connor McMichael – Lars Eller – Anthony Mantha
Marcus Johansson — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson — John Carlson
Martin Fehervary — Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin — Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Charlie Lindgren
Darcy Kuemper

Extras: Alexander Alexeyev, Joe Snively, Dmitry Orlov
Suspended: Nicolas Aube-Kubel (1 more game)
Injuries: Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson, T.J. Oshie, Carl Hagelin, Connor Brown, Beck Malenstyn.


It was all Blues in the first period. Brayden Schenn (4) notched the game’s first tally at 4:56 of the opening frame. The Blues quickly made it 2-0 with a tally from Pavel Buchnevich (2) at 7:10 of the first frame and added a power play tally from Torey Krug at 11:49 for a quick 3-o lead. The team’s would trade penalties for most of the remainder of the period, with the Blues holding a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.

The Capitals led in even-strength shot attempts 12-8, scoring chances 6-3 and expected goals for (xGF) .33 to .15 in the first frame.


The team’s battled to a scoreless draw for most of the middle frame before Alex Ovechkin scored his 9th of the season, late in the second period, to make it 3-1. The Capitals added a shorthanded goal from John Carlson 2:24 later and it was a new ball game. Unfortunately, the Blues would answer 26 seconds later to make it 4-2, the score at the second intermission.

The Capitals dominated shot attempts 19-6 in the middle frame and led 36-18 after 40 minutes. Capitals led in expected goals for 1.71 to .77 after two periods. The Blues led faceoffs 67-33%.


The two teams jostled back and forth for most of the final frame without a tally. Then John Carlson notched a power play goal and Conor Sheary dented the twine at 16:57 to tie the game 4-4. The Capitals had a go ahead goal nullified for a high-stick call, and the game headed to the extra frame.

The Capitals limited St. Louis to three shots on goal in the third period, the fewest shots they have allowed in a single period this season. The Capitals dominated possession again in the final frame. The Capitals led in shot attempts 25-9 in the third period and 61-27 for the game.


After a frenetic but scoreless overtime period, the Blues would take the extra point in the 7th round of the shootout.



As previously mentioned, the Capitals dominated possession metrics in this game, and the expected goals for percentages (xGF%) for each of the Capitals skaters reflects the dominance.

Connor McMichael was the only skater below 50%. He skated for a team low 8:01 of ice time. All other skaters were well above, noting a dominance among all lines.



  • The Blues dominated the dot 65-35%
  • The Capitals were 1 for 3 and the Blues 1 for 4 on the power play.
  • The Capitals led in expected goals for (xGF) 3.17 to 1.04.


  • Capitals have been outscored 8-0 in the first period of the three games on the road trip, and they’ve also yielded a PPG on the opposition’s first power play of the night in each of the three games.
  • The Capitals recorded 51 shots on goal against St. Louis, the first time Washington registered 50 or more shots in a games since March 20, 2019 versus Tampa Bay. The Capitals are one of eight teams to record at least 50 shots in a game this season.
  • Alex Ovechkin scores his ninth goal of the season. Ovechkin is now 11 goals shy of 800 career goals and 13 goals shy of passing Gordie Howe for second on the NHL’s all-time goals list.
  • It marks Ovechkin’s 401st road goal, which is one shy of tying Wayne Gretzky (402) for the most in NHL history.
  • In his 900th career game, John Carlson scores his second career shorthanded goal and his fourth goal of the season. Carlson’s only other shorthanded came on Feb. 17, 2015 at Pittsburgh.
  • Alex Ovechkin recorded his 400th career multi-point game against St. Louis, moving him past Mark Recchi (399) for the 15th most in NHL history.
  • John Carlson is one of three players this season to record a shorthanded goal and a power play goal in the same game (Bo Horvat, Mika Zibanejad) and the only defenseman to do so.

The Capitals now return home to host the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday at Capital One Arena.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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8 Responses to Capitals Start Late (Again), Rally, But Fall To Blues In Shootout: Post-Game Analysis

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

  2. Anonymous says:

    These slow starts have to be at least partially attributed to coaching.

  3. Anonymous says:

    McMichael needs a break. At this point his confidence is taking a bigger hit just playing. Time for a respit in Hershey. We

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