Washington Capitals center Hendrix Lapierre (29) celebrates his goal during...

Washington Capitals center Hendrix Lapierre (29) celebrates his goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Washington. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

WASHINGTON — Tom Wilson scored for a second consecutive game, Charlie Lindgren robbed Connor Bedard among his 29 saves, and the Washington Capitals beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Saturday night to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Hendrix Lapierre, Michael Sgarbossa and Sonny Milano also scored for Washington, which is 7-2-1 in its last 10. The Capitals moved five points back of Philadelphia for third place in the Metropolitan Division. They also are within striking distance of Tampa Bay and Detroit for wild-card spots and free of any trade-related tension with the passing of the deadline.

“When the deadline’s over, you know where you’re at and you know what we need to do to get into the playoffs,” said defenseman John Carlson, who had two assists. "I think there’s a little bit more of an easier focus for everybody on where they kind of are right now.”

Washington is looking for one or more teams in playoff position to falter, and then it has to make a run itself despite one of the NHL's toughest remaining schedules. Taking care of business against lowly opponents like Chicago and the Caps winning some games they shouldn't are also part of the recipe to return to the playoffs.

Unlike a letdown loss last weekend at home to Arizona, the Blackhawks were not much of an obstacle. Washington dominated pretty much from puck drop, taking advantage of a handful of early penalties and lighting up Petr Mrazek, who allowed four goals on 26 shots.

Lindgren did not have to make too many spectacular stops but went full extension post to post to deny Bedard with 4:45 left. The top draft pick couldn't crack Lindgren on three other shots on net.

“He’s been unreal for us," said Aliaksei Protas, who had two assists and blamed himself for a turnover that ended Lindgren's shutout bid. “(Darcy Kuemper) is playing good. When you have this tandem of goalies who’s ready to play, that’s awesome.”

Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) shoots against Chicago...

Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) shoots against Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi (25) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Washington. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

Wilson's goal gave him three over the past seven games since ending a lengthy drought. He also scored Thursday in a 6-0 rout of rival Pittsburgh, hours after the death of his 95-year-old grandfather.

Lapierre continued his impressive run of production with his fifth goal in six games since being recalled from Hershey of the American Hockey League.

“I try to be in the good areas, like in the goalie’s paint or whatever — just get some rebounds or some tips or whatever that might be,” Lapierre said. “With my confidence and my speed and stuff, I can create things, and right now I’m getting the good bounces because I’m being in the good areas.”

Tyler Johnson scored for the Blackhawks with 10:11 left in the third period. Still mired in a rebuild after winning the Bedard draft lottery, they have lost eight of nine and 16 of 18.

Washington Capitals left wing Sonny Milano (15) is congratulated for...

Washington Capitals left wing Sonny Milano (15) is congratulated for his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Washington. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

“I didn’t think we were really physically and mentally into that game early, and it showed,” coach Luke Richardson said.

Beating Chicago in each team's first game post-trade deadline wasn't the biggest test for Washington. A five-game Western Conference trip with stops in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Seattle, Edmonton and Calgary — four playoff-bound opponents and one in contention — will determine whether the Caps' postseason hopes will be realistic when they return home.

“We’re playing a lot of good teams on this trip,” Carlson said. “We know we got our work cut out for us."

UP NEXT

Blackhawks: Host Arizona on Sunday.

Capitals: Visit the Jets on Monday night.

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