Arnott Nets Game-Winner for Caps

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Jason Arnott scores against the Blues.

    Two games into Jason Arnott's Capitals career, and things aren't looking too shabby.

    He's got two wins under his belt. His line is clicking. And he's played a large role in two crucial goals.

    On Tuesday, he set up the game-tying goal against the Islanders.

    On Thursday night, he scored the game-winner with five minutes left in the third period on a pretty 2-on-1 with linemate Alex Semin.

    His first goal as a member of the Caps gave his new mates a 3-2 win over the Blues on home ice, and set a tone for the next two games of a crucial road trip -- including one against division-leading Tampa Bay.

    Arnott was brought in to be the team's much-needed second-line center, and he hasn't disappointed so far. Arnott, Semin and Brooks Laich quickly bonded and have taken pressure off the top line to score all of the big goals.

    "Playing with Semin and Brooksie, we're creating a little chemistry and getting to know each other," Arnott said.

    "We're talking a lot on the bench," he continued. "It's important to communicate to find out how guys are -- little plays around the rink. If we keep that up, hopefully our chemistry will keep going."

    A turnover at center ice led to the winning goal. Semin picked up the puck and carried it into the Blues' zone while Arnott charged down the middle. As Semin settled the bouncing puck, Arnott got into shooting position and was able to one-time a perfect pass past a helpless Ty Conklin.

    "You get a 2-on-1 with him," Arnott said of Semin, and "he's pretty good."

    Another lesson learned by the newest member of the team.

    Coach Bruce Boudreau said the team could learn at least one important lesson from the new guy on that game-winning goal.

    "When Semin gave him a really good pass, he didn't have to make a play," Boudreau said. "He just had to shoot the puck because he was already in a shooting position. Which I thought was really good to see."

    All four Caps lines seemed to come together on this night. While there was little chemistry against the Isles, the lines all played their roles well against St. Louis.

    The top line of Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Mike Knuble was responsible for two goals, including a great individual effort by Backstrom.

    Shortly after the Blues took a 2-1 lead in the second period, Backstrom scored a baseball-style goal by batting a tipped pass by Knuble out of mid-air and past Conklin to tie it at 2.

    Knuble skated in with the puck on the left side and tried to backhand a pass across to Backstrom, but it deflected off of a defender's stick and into the air. Backstrom, using all those baseball skills he picked up during his youth in Sweden, took a mighty cut and knocked the puck out of the air. It skipped past Conklin on one hop and into the net.

    "I've been working out with Ryan Zimmerman this summer," Backstrom joked.

    Ovechkin said Backstrom didn't learn that move from him, since Ovie missed on a similar swing in the All-Star game a few years back.

    "Probably he watched the baseball a lot," Ovechkin said with a smile.