St. Louis Blues drop Washington Capitals

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19) battles for the puck with St. Louis right wing Chris Stewart (25) in the first period. The Blues won their fourth in a row Tuesday.



WASHINGTON — Dale Hunter’s NHL coaching career began with a thud as the Capitals struggled again in a loss to St. Louis.

T.J. Oshie and Matt D’Agostini scored for the Blues, who won their fourth game in a row to improve to 8-1-2 under Ken Hitchcock.

Nicklas Backstrom got the lone goal for the Capitals, whose attack was as ineffective under Hunter as it had been recently under fired coach Bruce Boudreau. Washington was outshot 30-19 by the stingiest defense in the NHL.



In Raleigh, N.C., Shawn Matthias scored with 3:19 left to help Florida spoil Kirk Muller’s debut as Carolina’s coach.

Tomas Fleischmann also scored and Matthias added an empty-netter for the Southeast Division-leading Panthers. Jose Theodore made 26 saves.

Florida went more than 20 minutes between shots before scoring late to snap a two-game losing streak.



In New York, John Mitchell and Brad Richards scored 90 seconds apart in New York’s four-goal second period, and the Rangers held on to beat Pittsburgh for their third consecutive win.



In Buffalo, N.Y., Brian Rolston scored the go-ahead goal 9:23 into the third period and Al Montoya stopped 30 shots to send New York to its second consecutive road win.

The Sabres now have lost to the worst team in each conference in less than a week.



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