It was bad from the start, with brief glimmers of hope interlaced within an otherwise decisively poor outing for the defending champs. A well-rested Predators squad took full advantage of a team playing their third game in four nights, and a goaltender playing his second game in as many night. However, the numbers, in many areas, do not reflect the final score. Let’s take a look.
The Capitals return to the ice this Friday when they host Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:30 PM ET. The Capitals will honor Brooks Orpik for his 1,000 career NHL games prior to the game. This will be Barry Trotz’ first visit to Capital One Arena after leaving the team this past summer.
The Capitals were playing their third game in four days, while the Predators have rested since Sunday, and it showed early in this one. The Predators struck first when Viktor Arvidsson got behind the Capitals defensive for a clean break away and finish at 3:45 of the first period. The Predators would strike again midway through the opening frame with a goal from Nick Bonino at 9:27, for a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Viktor Arvidsson would make it 3-0 early in the middle frame with his second goal of the game. The Capitals would get on the scoreboard with a power play goal from Nicklas Backstrom at 7:07 of the middle frame, making it 3-1, but Arvidsson would score his third of the game, a short-handed goal, moments later to make it 4-1. The Predators would add another with five minutes left in the period making it 5-1. The Predators would add one more with 6 seconds left in the period to make it 6-1 at the second intermission. The Predators would add one more goal in the final frame at the midway point of the period before T.J. Oshie knocked one home for a 7-2 final. Oshie’s goal was the Capitals first 5-on-5 goal in three games.
Capitals’ bench boss Todd Reirden was asked about tonight’s lineup during his pre-game media scrum. His response was “game time decision for everything tonight”. Pheonix Copley started in goal again tonight. Braden Holtby didn’t start tonight for what the team said were “precautionary reasons.” He was the backup. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs saw a few changes. Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov flipped center positions. Dmitrij Jaskin drew back into the lineup for Chandler Stephenson. Travis Boyd moved to RW on the 4th line in place of Devante Smith-Pelly.
Scratches: Madison Bowey, Chandler Stephenson and Devante Smith-Pelly.
SHOT ATTEMPTS (POSSESSION)
The Predators out-attempted the Capitals 20-16 and led 9-8 in shots on goal (SOG) and 2-0 on the scoreboard, but the Capitals had their chances. They did give up a number of odd-man rushes, and that was the difference in the first 20 minutes. The Capitals showed a surge in the middle frame, after falling into a 3-0 hole. The Predators held a slight edge in shot attempts, 13-12 and 11-10 in SOG but added three goals in the middle frame for a 6-1 lead after 40 minutes. Each team scored in the final frame, as shot attempts and SOG were fairly even. For the game, the Predators out-attempted the Capitals by a slim margin, 47-43 and led in SOG 29-28. Fairly even.
SHOT ATTEMPTS (DIFFERENTIAL)
SHOT ATTEMPTS (LOCATION)
As previously mentioned, Pheonix Copley started in goal for the Capitals, after playing last night in DC. He stopped 22 of 29 for a .759 save percentage. Juuse Saros stopped 26 of 28 for a .929 game save percentage.
Reirden said Caps didn’t know that Holtby would be unavailable until just a few hours before the game. Didn’t have time to recall someone, and Copley was going to stay in the whole way no matter how bad the score got.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) January 16, 2019
The Capitals power play is looking better in the last few games, regardless of goals scored. However, tonight the Caps power play dented twine again, going 1 for 2 in the game. The Capitals penalty kill was strong, stopping all five of the Predators power plays.
The Capitals won the faceoff battle 52-48%. Nicklas Backstrom was 7 for 17, Lars Eller was 9 for 17, Nic Dowd was 7 for 9, Andre Burakovsky was 1 for 2, T.J. Oshie was 2 for 3 and Evgeny Kuznetsov was 4 for 10.
- The Capitals went a stretch of seven-straight periods without an even-strength goal.
- T.J. Oshie played in his 700th career NHL game.