Braden Holtby made a strong case for more playing time.
Holtby made 34 saves and Nicklas Backstrom started a three-goal second period as the surging Capitals beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 Monday night.
Alex Ovechkin got his league-leading 46th goal Oren Burks Jersey Packers , and Alex Chiasson and Andre Burakovsky also scored to help the Capitals get their seventh win in eight games, and 11th in the last 13.
Holtby, who has been sharing the goaltending duties with Philipp Grubauer the past six weeks, won for the fourth time in his last five starts and improved to 7-0-0 in seven career starts against St. Louis.
Grubauer made 36 stops in a 3-1 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday that clinched the Capitals’ third straight Metropolitan Division title. Holby turned in a similarly strong effort 24 hours later.
”Both goalies are playing really well,” said coach Barry Trotz, who has not named a starter for the playoffs that begin next week. ”They’re pushing each other. They’ve responded every night.”
Holtby is not worried about the future. He simply focuses on the task at hand each night.
”I’ve always been a big believer in leaving those decisions to other people and focus on your job and your job only,” Holtby said. ”And that’s stopping pucks and helping this team win.”
Holtby improved to 33-16-4 on the season, while Grubauer is 15-9-3
Chiasson feels his team is in a no-lose situation entering postseason play with two solid goalies.
”Those two have been the backbone of this team all year Bob Uecker Jersey ,” Chiasson said. ”Whenever one was not playing as well as he wanted, the other was picking up the charge.”
Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrik Berglund scored for the Blues, who lost their second straight and remained one point behind Colorado for the second and final wild card in the Western Conference. The Avalanche lost 3-1 at Los Angeles later.
”There’s not a single part of me that doesn’t believe that we’re going to get there,” St. Louis coach Mike Yeo said.
Blues defenseman Colton Parayko realizes his team has its back to the wall.
”We know we’re basically in a win-out situation,” Parayko said. ”We also know what we’ve got to do to win. We’ve done it the last couple of weeks.”
Jake Allen finished with 30 saves.
Backstrom, Chiasson and Burakovsky scored in the first 7:54 of the second period to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead.
Backstrom tied it 1-1 by firing a shot past goalie Jake Allen from close range just 51 seconds into the period, giving him 20 goals in three straight seasons.
”We came off a huge win Sunday and got a lot of confidence with that,” Backstrom said. ”And we just kept going.”
Chiasson put Washington ahead with his ninth at 2:39 Avonte Maddox Color Rush Jersey , and Burakovsky gave the Capitals a two-goal lead with his 11th a little more than five minutes later.
”Obviously we’re not taking our foot off the gas,” Burakovsky said. ”We’re battling just as hard for every game and every point.”
Berglund pulled St. Louis within one with 8 1/2 minutes left in the second, but Ovechkin scored into an empty net with 1:31 left in the third.
NOTES: Ovechkin played in his 1,001st NHL game. … The Capitals have won six of their last nine games in back-to-back situations. … St. Louis RW Scottie Upshall is out the rest of the season with a lacerated kidney. … G Allen has started the Blues’ last 13 games. … Washington RW T.J. Oshie was held out of the contest as a precautionary measure. He is nursing a lower body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Capitals: Close the regular season with back-to-back home games against Nashville on Thursday and New Jersey on Saturday.
Blues: Host Chicago on Wednesday before closing with two road games.
The Alex Smith era has begun in Washington as the Redskins completed their trade for the veteran quarterback.
Smith joined the Redskins from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller. The deal and Smith's subsequent four-year contract extension were agreed to in February but couldn't become official until Wednesday's start of the new league year.
"I just wanted to say how excited and happy I am to be part of the Redskins team," Smith said in a video posted on Washington's Twitter account. "Can't wait to build something great together."
Smith replaces Kirk Cousins as the Redskins' No. 1 quarterback. Cousins spent the past three seasons as Washington's starter and played the past two on the franchise tag. He is being courted by the Minnesota Vikings.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Alex and what he was able to accomplish with us these past five seasons," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "He put every ounce of energy into making our football team better and I appreciate his leadership and how he came to work with the right attitude every day."
Smith, who turns 34 in May, led the Chiefs to four playoff appearances in the past five years Tony Romo Jersey , throwing for 102 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. He carries a $17 million salary-cap hit for 2018.
The Redskins are expected to introduce Smith at a news conference Thursday with senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams and coach Jay Gruden. Less than 90 minutes after the trade was official, No. 11 Smith jerseys were seen at Redskins stores in the D.C. area.
At the scouting combine in Indianapolis, Gruden said it was time to move on from Cousins and find some continuity at quarterback. Cousins wrote a farewell ode to the Redskins on his website, thanking owner Dan Snyder, team president Bruce Allen, Gruden and former coach Mike Shanahan, among others.
"Just like you never fully leave your hometown 鈥?you never fully leave your first NFL team, especially after six seasons Youth Cassius Marsh Jersey ," Cousins wrote. "My family and I will always have a piece of Washington deep in our hearts. I arrived as a single, 23-year-old from the Midwest 鈥?with a lot to learn and prove. I now leave as a husband of four years to my wife, Julie, and a father to my son, Cooper 鈥?but still with lots to learn and prove."
AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta contributed.