The Washington Capitals beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The win improved the Capitals record to an outlandish 39-9-4. The loss dropped the Predators record to 25-21-8. The Capitals are still the only team in the NHL with single-digit losses for the season. The Capitals are back on the ice Thursday night in Minnesota.
Brooks Orpik was scratched again, due to a lower body injury he sustained on November 10th. However, Trotz mentioned in his presser following today’s morning skate that Orpik could return to the lineup on this road trip. Jay Beagle was scratched once again due to a wrist injury. Trotz stated Beagle could start skating with the team again next week when Caps return from this road trip. Stanislav Galiev was the healthy scratch. The goalie match-up for tonight’s contest, provided by @CapsGoalies:
The Capitals would continue their power play woes in the first period, going 0-2, stretching their power play scoreless streak to 19 straight. However both power plays were partial due to additional penalties, and only amounted to 1:02 in total power play time. Braden Holtby was very sharp for most of this contest. The Caps were outplayed for a majority of the first and second periods, but would hold a 2-1 lead after two periods. Tom Wilson had a good game, with a goal and assist. Marcus Johansson, returning tonight from a recent injury, also had a good game with a goal and an assist.
The Caps were called for the game’s first penalty at 3:41 of the first, on a holding call on Nate Schmidt. Braden Holtby made a couple of nice stops, including a laser from Shae Weber, keeping the game scoreless. During the Preds power play, the Predators Mike Fisher would be called for Tripping T.J. Oshie, nullifying the Predators man-advantage. The Caps would be on the man-advantage for 55 seconds, but could not capitalize, stretching the power play drought to 18 straight without a score. The Caps would return to the penalty kill on an offensive zone hooking call on Justin Williams at the 7:23 mark. The Caps would successfully kill the penalty. The Preds stepped up the offensive zone pressure during 5-on-5 play, as the Caps could only muster one shot on goal in the first 11 minutes of play. However, the Caps would score on their second shot on goal on a knock-in by Jason Chimera, his 14th goal of the season, at 12:02 of the opening frame.
The Capitals would return to the power play on a tripping call on the Preds Craig Smith at 14:06. The Capitals would just have 7 seconds of power play time before Marcus Johansson would be called for a high-sticking penalty, nullifying the Caps power play. The first period would end with the Caps leading 1-0. The Predators led in shots-on-goal 14-6.
The Caps were called for too many men on the ice at 10:54 of the middle frame, but again the Caps would shut the door on the Preds power play. Unfortunately, With 0:04 left in the power play, the Caps were once again called for too many men on the ice. This time the Preds would cash-in on a wrister by Filip Forsberg at 14:42, closing the gap to 2-1.
The second period would end with the Caps leading 2-1. The Predators led in shots on goal 21-12.
Marcus Johansson would stretch the Caps lead to 4-1 on a left-side slapshot to a mostly open net at 8:03 of the third period.
The Predators got one back fairly quickly on a deflected shot by Roman Josi at 9:49 of the third period, making it 4-2.
Filip Forsberg would add another goal, his second of the evening, closing the gap to 4-3 with 8:00 left in regulation.
Alex Ovechkin would add an empty net goal with one minute left in the game to seal the victory for the Capitals, 5-3.