Beninati: Blue Bloods

Beninati: Blue Bloods
December 2, 2010, 8:03 am

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 11:55 p.m.

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By Joe Beninati
Capitals Play-by-Play

The Caps haven't left St. Louis with a win in a long time, so this one feels especially good. It was another brilliant performance in goal from Semyon Varlamov. Coach Bruce Boudreau continues to tell us that the inner battle for the number one goalie job is fueling both Varlamov and Michael Neuvirth to perform at a high level.

Washington needed Varlamov to put out a few fires tonight and he extinguished the Blues hopes time after time. His best stop of the game was absolute robbery on Brad Boyes in the first period.

Brooks Laich put the Capitals in front in the first period. Alex Semin and Nick Backstrom moved the puck rapidly from east to west, eventually finding Laich parked at the post for a tip-in on the power play.

Boyd Gordon worked his tail off again in this game and was rewarded with a fortunate bounce off the glove of last spring's playoff nemesis Jaroslav Halak.

The Caps looked like they were going to roll into the third period with a two goal lead, but Alex Steen spoiled the shutout bid with under 40 seconds left in the frame. His long wrist shot caught Varlamov screened and then deflected into the goal.

The game was up for grabs in the third and that's when Nick Backstrom elevated his game. I find him to be so dangerous on rebounds. He anticipates where the puck will carom off of goalies and he quickly releases follow up shots that few netminders can fend off.

Alex Ovechkin unselfishly set Backstrom up for the empty-netter that clinched Washington's first win in St. Louis since 1996.

The guys are fired up on the bus ride to the airport. All of us are looking forward to welcoming Scott Hannan to the ice as a Capital in Dallas Thursday. The coaches wanted the new defenseman to watch their system in action tonight and he saw a very sound effort.