The Washington Capitals defeated the Nashville Predators on Friday night at the Verizon Center. The Caps are now 51-14-5 and lead the Metropolitan division by 17 points. The Caps play their archrival Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday at CONSOL Energy Center at 6 p.m.
Mike Weber, Michael Latta and Stanislav Galiev were the healthy scratches for tonight’s game against the Preds. Tonight also marked 25 years for Craig Laughlin as a Washington Capitals analyst and commentator. Thank You Locker!!!
The Capitals played their best game in recent memory against the Predators tonight. For the second game in a row, the Capitals were able to play a strong first period. Although they were unable to score in the first, they lead in SOG 9-4 after 20 minutes and established a strong forecheck. A pair of goals from Daniel Winnik and a pair of beautiful assists from Kuzy in the second put the Caps up 3-1 heading into the third period. An early goal from Burakovsky in the third led the Caps to a 4-1 victory.
The Caps came out of the gate very strong once again, leading in SOG 4-1 in the first five minutes. Alex Ovechkin had the best opportunity, but Predators goaltender Carter Hutton made a nice kick-out save. The Caps were able to establish a strong forecheck through the first 15 minutes of the game, although no goals were scored. The Capitals were also able to block down many of the Predators’ shots before they could reach netminder Braden Holtby. Nicklas Bacstrom was called for a high stick with 6 minutes left in the period, but the Capitals’ 4th-ranked PK unit was able to keep the game 0-0. Caps finished the period leading in SOG 9-4.
Taylor Chorney went to the box early in the second period for tripping, and the Predators were able to strike one minute into the power play after Filip Forsberg snuck one past Braden Holtby.
The Capitals received their first power play at 6 minutes, but were unable to score. Seconds after the power play expired, Evgeny Kuznetsov worked his wizardry once again, setting up Daniel Winnik for his first goal as a Capital to tie the game at 1-1.
Shortly after his goal, Daniel Winnik was able to draw a penalty to give the Caps another power play, but they were unable to score on the PP. Minutes later, Kuznetsov pulled out his signature pass again to find T.J. Oshie for his 22nd goal of the season to put the Caps ahead 2-1.
Daniel Winnik scored again with 17 seconds left in the period to put the Caps up 3-1 heading to the locker room.
36 seconds in, Kuznetsov again! His 3rd assist of the night set up Andre Burakovsky right in front of the net for the score, extending the lead to 4-1.
Ovechkin went off for a high stick 3 minutes and 53 seconds into the period, but the Caps were able to kill off the penalty without much trouble. The Predators took a couple of late penalties, and the Caps ended the game with a 5-on-3.
By Gabe Meade