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DALLAS (AP) The Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals cleared some space to try to re-sign a handful of key free agents by trading veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik and backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche for the 47th pick in the NHL draft .Shedding Orpik’s $5.5 million salary in the final year of his contract and dealing Grubauer before he earned more as a restricted free agent gives them more than $20 million in cap space. It’s needed because defensemen John Carlson and Michal Kempny can become unrestricted free agents July 1 and playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly and top-line winger Tom Wilson will get raises as RFAs.”You don’t like trading away good people Alex Smith Jersey Elite , but it’s what we had to do to move forward with the team,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Friday night. ”It’s hard to do, but we had to create some room to sign some players.”Carlson, who led all defenseman in scoring in the regular season and playoffs, is expected to cost $8 million-plus a season on a long-term deal. The Capitals would have struggled to fit that under the $79.5 million ceiling without a move like this.MacLellan has met with Carlson’s agent and said the two sides are really close to agreeing to a contract.”We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. ”Hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”The 37-year-old Orpik was a respected alternate captain who got the Cup third after Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom when Washington won its first title in franchise history. The rugged defenseman played almost 20 minutes a game in four seasons with the Capitals and scored the winning goal in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against Vegas.Colorado GM Joe Sakic was willing to take Orpik in the trade to keep the acquisition cost down and plans to try to trade him or buy him out. He felt it was worth it for the Avalanche to get Grubauer.”We all feel that he’s ready to take the next step and become a No. 1,” Sakic said. ”We’re excited to have two No. 1 goalies.”The 26-year-old joins fellow Capitals draft pick Semyon Varlamov with the Avalanche where he’ll get the chance to start more games than he did behind Braden Holtby in Washington.Grubauer started a career-high 35 games with the Capitals this past season, going 28-15-10 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. He played well enough to be the Capitals’ starter at the beginning of the playoffs but was replaced by Holtby during Game 2 of the first round after allowing eight goals on 49 shots.The Avalanche lost Varlamov and Jonathan Bernier to injuries last season and with this move shored up their goaltending situation. Bernier will depart in free agency. Sakic expects to agree to terms on a deal with Grubauer, a pending restricted free agent, in short order.”I believe it’ll come pretty quick,” Sakic said.The Capitals can only hope the same in their negotiations with Carlson. It’s their goal to sign him before he can speak with other teams when the draft concludes and would be one of the top free agents available.MacLellan also wouldn’t rule out bringing back Orpik if the Avalanche buy him out.”I think it’s legal,” MacLellan said. ”We’re open to that depending on how much room and how much salary it would take and if we want to put him in that third pair again.”— ST. LOUIS (AP) Duncan Keith and the Chicago Blackhawks did their part to spoil the St. Louis’ playoff chances.The star defenseman scored a power-play goal with 8.5 seconds left and the Blackhawks beat St. Louis 4-3 on Wednesday night.Alex DeBrincat had a goal and an assist, Andreas Martinsen and Blake Hillman also scored, and Jean-Francois Berube made 30 saves. The Blackhawks beat the Blues for the first time in three meetings this season.”We’re trying to win the game,” Keith said. ”At the end of the day, it’s a bigger game for them but I thought we did a good job of matching their intensity and for us it’s fun to play in a game like that. … There was something on the line so it was a little easier to get the fire going little bit.”Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn each had a goal and an assist for the Blues. They have lost four straight to fall a point behind idle Colorado for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.Robert Bortuzzo also scored for the Blues, and Jake Allen made 22 saves in his 14th straight start.”We played terrible in the third from myself out,” Allen said. ”It’s unacceptable especially at home against a team that really has nothing to play for except beat us.”Hillman scored a short-handed goal http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonline.com/alex-smith-jersey , his first in the NHL, midway through the second to cut the Blues’ lead to 3-2. He is the fifth Blackhawk to score their first career goal this season.”It’s probably the hardest one-timer I’ve ever taken in my life,” said Hillman, who was playing in his second NHL game. ”I closed my eyes and it went through a couple of bodies and luckily Allen didn’t see it.”DeBrincat tied it at 3 at 8:30 of the third with an unassisted goal, before Keith found the net for the first time in 22 games.”It’s been awhile since he scored obviously, but we did some good things as the game progressed and drew the penalty and got a break,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.Bortuzzo opened the scoring at 4:16 of the first period with his fourth goal of the season.Martinsen tied it for Chicago at 8:57 with his first goal of the season, firing a wrist shot that trickled between Allen’s legs after the Blues failed to clear the puck twice.Schenn regained the lead for the Blues just 47 seconds into the second period, putting home a rebound from Vince Dunn’s shot from the high slot. Schenn’s 27th goal is a career high.Tarasenko made it 3-1 at 5:44 of the second. St. Louis took advantage of a Chicago defensive line change and Schenn sprung Tarasenko for a breakaway.FANCY STICK WORKJust 52 seconds into the game, Jaden Schwartz had a wrap-around attempt into a wide-open net, but Keith got his stick on the goal line to block the puck until Berube could get his glove down. The play was reviewed and it was determined that the puck did not cross the line.”I just tried to do what I could there to get everything I could, all the pressure on my stick, because I knew he had some momentum coming around there and was trying to wrap it around, the lane wasn’t there,” Keith said. ”A little luck too in that regard, but Berube ended up getting over there and taking the pressure off.”NOTES: Blues D Alex Pietrangelo played in his 615th career game, one shy of Bob Plager for second-most by a defenseman in franchise history. … The Blackhawks will honor Hall of Famer Stan Mikita before Friday night’s home game against the Blues. Mikita’s grandsons will take the ice on his behalf during the national anthem and highlights of Mikita’s career will be played. … Blues prospect G Ville Husso (San Antonio) was named to the 2017-2018 AHL All-Rookie team. … Blackhawks prospect D Adam Clendening was selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week after scoring two goals and five assists for the week ending April 2.UP NEXTThe teams will meet again Friday night in Chicago.