WASHINGTON (AP) — Sammy Blais scored twice, Joel Hofer created 33 saves in his season debut and the St. Louis Blues dealt the Washington Capitals a important blow in their lengthy-shot bid for a playoff spot with a five-two victory Friday evening.
The Capitals missed an chance to make up ground in the race for an Eastern Conference wild-card spot against an opponent lengthy out of it in the West. They trail the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders by 5 points with 12 games left to play.
Their odds of creating it would have been even slimmer if not for a comeback victory in a shootout against Buffalo on Wednesday, but every regulation loss tends to make the climb far more hard. Coming up empty in a listless, error-heavy loss to St. Louis does just that.
There was lots of blame to go about for Washington.
Trade deadline pickup Rasmus Sandin — 1 of two additions amid a selloff — was on the ice for 4 ambitions against, and poor puck management gave the Blues high-quality probabilities. Darcy Kuemper permitted at least 1 soft aim amongst the 4 he gave up on 21 shots behind a defense missing Nick Jensen simply because of injury.
At the other finish, the Capitals got third period ambitions from Martin Fehervary and Nicklas Backstrom against Hofer, a rookie playing just his third NHL game just after starter Jordan Binnington was suspended for throwing a punch in the Blues’ final game.
St. Louis once again got contributions from all 3 reclamation projects acquired in bargains prior to the deadline: the ambitions from Blais and 1 from Kasperi Kapanen and an help from Jakub Vrana on Jordan Kyrou’s group-major 31st of the season. Brayden Schenn sealed it with a lengthy-distance empty netter with 1:39 left.
Vrana, who was drafted by the Capitals and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2018 and was traded to Detroit in 2021, has 5 points in six games considering the fact that joining the Blues from the Red Wings earlier this month.
Blues: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday evening.
Capitals: Pay a visit to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday afternoon.
Stick to AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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