The Washington Capitals continued their torrid pace on the power play last night, going two for three, but that was not enough to secure victory in a 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues at MCI Center.
The Capitals lead the NHL in home power play and struck on their first two opportunities before a defensive collapse late in the second period cost them the game. Winger Jaromir Jagr again scored on the power play, and his success at home has figured prominently in the team's overall success there.
Jagr had played 24 home games this season and produced 16 goals and 40 points; Jagr has scored just 15 points in 27 road games. The Capitals are 15-7-1-2 at home, scoring 92 goals and allowing 78 goals. They are 8-12-6-1 on the road, scoring just 56 goals, allowing 66.
"Sometimes it just happens like that," Jagr said. "We had a few blowouts at home early in the season, but lately we're pretty good and we're scoring a lot of goals at home, too."
The Capitals' power play once ranked near the bottom of the NHL but is now in the top seven. They scored five power-play goals at MCI Center on Sunday against the New York Rangers, their most in a game since March 1987, although the unit slumped for most of the first half.
"There were times when I did not want to be playing at home," Jagr said. "I wanted to be on the road when they started booing the power play all the time."
Konowalchuk's Return Not Set
Coach Bruce Cassidy said winger Steve Konowalchuk (groin strain) would only be activated for Thursday's game if he is fully fit, otherwise he will remain on injured reserve until after the all-star break. Winger Alex Henry (flu) could be activated Thursday as well. . . .
Forward Mike Grier played his 500th NHL game last night and center Michael Nylander played his 600th game. . . .
St. Louis General Manager Larry Pleau watched the Capitals play for the third time in a week, scouting defenseman Ken Klee in particular, sources said, although Washington is also in the market for defensive help and values Klee highly, making trade prospects minimal. . . .
Forward Andreas Salomonsson and defenseman Rick Berry were scratched last night. . . .
Forwards Trent Whitfield, Peter Ferraro and Chris Ferraro and goalie Maxime Ouellet will represent Washington's top affiliate, the Portland Pirates, in the American Hockey League All-Star Game.