The Washington Capitals fell to the Nashville Predators 6-3 Monday afternoon at Capital One Arena. The loss drops the Capitals record to 24-11-3 (51 points). The Capitals are back in action Thursday when they visit the Blues in St. Louis. Puck drop is set for 8:00 PM.
The Capitals struck with early goals from Michal Kempny and Jakub Vrana for a quick 2-0 lead. The Predators would get on the scorebaord midway through the opening frame for a Caps 2-1 lead at the first intermission. The Caps would stretch the lead to 3-1 before the Predators responded with three quick goals for a 4-3 lead at the second intermission. The Predators would add two more tallies in the final frame for the 6-3 win.
Braden Holtby (15-8-2, 2.72 GAA, .915 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Capitals. Pekke Rinne (14-10-1, 2.23 GAA, .922 sv%) started in goal for the visiting Predators. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals:
Scratches: Dmitrij Jaskin and Nic Dowd. (Tyler Lewington was returned to Hershey earlier in the day).
The Capitals wasted little time in lighting the lamp. Michal Kempny would rip one past Rinne at 4:33 of the first period. Nicklas Backstrom was credited with the lone assist.
The Capitals would stretch their lead to 2-0 with a goal from Jakub Vrana at 8:45 of the first period. John Carlson would make a beautiful falling-down feed to Vrana for the score. Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov were credited with the assists.
But the Predators would quickly respond, making it 2-1. Rocco Grimaldi would score at 9:08 of the opening frame.
The opening stanza would conclude with the Caps hanging on to a 2-1 lead. The Caps led in attempted shots 20-13 and trailed in shots on goal (SOG) 11-9. Nashville was 0 for 1 on the power play.
The Capitals would regain a two-goal lead with a goal from Chandler Stephenson at 8:22 of the middle frame. The goal was setup by a nice breakout pass from Braden Holtby, and aided by a poor line change by Nashville. Devante Smith-Pelly and Braden Holtby were credited with the helpers.
But once again, the Predators would respond, and this time, in a big way. Miikka Salomaki would score at 9:57 of the middle frame, Ryan Johansen would tie the game, 3-3 at 11:59 of the second period and Frederick Gaudreau would score at 14:30 to give the Predators a 4-3 lead.
The period would conclude with the Predators leading 4-3. The Predators led in attempted shots 28-24 and led 15-10 in SOG in the middle frame. There were no penalties called in the second period.
The Predators would stretch their lead to 5-3 with a goal from Ryan Ellis at 10:35 of the final frame.
The Predators would add another on a 5-on-3 power play to seal the 6-3 victory.
- Braden Holtby was given an assist on Stephenson’s goal, his second assist of the season. He’s tied for first in the NHL in assists among goaltenders.
- Jakub Vrana scores his 12th goal of the season and now ranks second on the team in goals (Alex Ovechkin: 29).
- Michal Kempny scores his fourth goal of the year, a new single-season high.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov is now one point shy of 300 career points (87g, 212a).
- The NHL box score is here.
Thank you, 2018! Happy New Year, everyone!
By Jon Sorensen
SCENES FROM THE DISTRICT