Nashville at Washington Preview: Capitals Resume Season vs. Predators on Wednesday

Photo: Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals face the Nashville Predators for the first time in 23 months on Wednesday night in the nation’s capital. The Predators have won eight straight games against the Capitals and 11 of the past 13 meetings between the two teams dating back to 2014.

When they met twice in 2019-20, the Capitals and Predators combined for 20 goals. Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington in-market or ESPN+ out-of-market beginning at 7 PM ET.

Schedule

Both teams will play for the first time since the NHL paused the season on December 22 due to COVID-19. The Predators have not played since a 3-2 win at the Chicago Blackhawks on December 17 while the Capitals have not since a 3-2 loss on home ice to the Los Angeles Kings two nights later.

The Predators begin a short two-game road trip (with both games coming on back-to-back nights) and a stretch where they will play five of six on the road. They will visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

The Capitals wrap up a two-game homestand and continue a stretch where they play three of four at home.

Records

Predators: 10-5-1 on the road, .656 points percentage (seventh), won past five road games

Capitals: 9-3-4 at home this season, .688 points percentage (eighth in NHL), lost past two home games in regulation after going 6-0-1 in their previous seven

How Each Team Is Doing

Predators: season-high seven-game winning streak before pause, currently the NHL’s longest

Capitals: lost three of five (2-2-1) and are 4-3-2 since a three-game winning-streak at the end of November was snapped

Standings

Predators: 19-10-1 (tied with St. Louis Blues for second seed in Central Division but have a game in hand; three points up on Colorado Avalanche but Avalanche have three games in hand), .650 points percentage (third in Western Conference, tied for ninth in NHL)

Capitals: 18-6-7 (tied for first in Metropolitan Division with Carolina Hurricanes who have two games in hand, one point up on New York Rangers –  who have one game in hand, tied for second in Eastern Conference with 43 points), .694 points percentage (fifth in NHL) but third in Metropolitan Division behind Hurricanes (.741) and Rangers (.700)

Team Leaders

Predators
Points: D Roman Josi, 29
Goals: C Matt Duchene/LW Filip Forsberg, 13
Assists: C Mikael Granlund, 22
Plus-Minus: D Alexandre Carrier, +11
TOI-per-game: Josi, 24:46

Additional Notes: Josi is just one of two defenseman with a double-digit goal total this season (10) behind Avalanche’s Cale Makar (13), ranks third among blueliners in points, and has three goals and eight points in his last six games; Forsberg leads the Predators with an average of 1.05 points-per-game with 22 in 21 and has two goals and seven points during a four-game point-streak; Granlund has just two assists in his past six games while Duchene has just one in his last four; C Ryan Johansen has one goal (eight) and two more points (24) than last year in 21 fewer games

Capitals
Points: LW Alex Ovechkin, 47 (third in NHL behind Edmonton Oilers Cs Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid — each with 49)
Goals: Ovechkin, 22 (one behind Draisaitl for NHL lead)
Assists: Ovechkin, 25 (fifth)
Plus-Minus: D Nick Jensen, +20 (tied for second in NHL); Ovechkin, +18 (fifth); D Dmitry Orlov, +17 (tied for sixth); C Evgeny Kuznetsov/RW Tom Wilson, +15 (tied for ninth) all among NHL’s top-ten
TOI-per-game: D John Carlson, 23:36

Additional Notes: Ovechkin has 10 goals and 21 points in his last 14 games and earned two goals and eight points during a five-game point-streak before it was snapped against the Kings; The 36-year-old is one goal away from taking sole place of first on the NHL’s power-play goals list; LW Conor Sheary has two goals and six points during a five-game point-streak and six goals and 11 points in his last 12 games; RW Daniel Sprong has two goals and three points in his last three

Team Stats

Possession and Goaltending Metrics

The first graphic presents the possession metrics for the Predators and Capitals entering Wednesday’s game.

Special Teams, Faceoffs and Shots

The final graph plots the specials teams, goals scored and face-off statistics for the Predators and Capitals.

Expected Starting Goaltenders

Predators: Jusse Saros, 26
15-8-1 record this season (tied for third in wins)
.924 save percentage (16th)
2.22 goals-against average (tied for 13th)
two shutouts (tied for second)
4-0-0, .908 save percentage, 2.75 goals-against average in four career games vs. Capitals
has won five straight starts and seven of his past eight
made 17 saves in Predators’ 3-2 win over Blackhawks on December 17, his last appearance

Capitals: Ilya Samsonov, 24
11-2-2 record (tied for 13th)
.910 save percentage
2.64 goals-against average
three shutouts (tied for second)
would be first career start vs. Predators
2-2-1 in last five starts after 9-0-1 start to the season
23 saves in Capitals’ 5-4 overtime loss in Chicago on December 15, his last appearance

Injuries/Illnesses

Predators
Josi (COVID-19, first)
C Tommy Novak (COVID-19, first)
C Colton Sissons (COVID-19, first)

Capitals
Jensen (COVID-19, expected to miss first game)
LW Anthony Mantha (shoulder, 21st, indefinite)
RW T.J. Oshie (COVID-19, second)
LHD Martin Fehervary (COVID-19, first)
LHD Dennis Cholowski (COVID-19, first)
G Vitek Vanecek (COVID-19, first)
RW Daniel Sprong (COVID-19, first)

RHD Justin Schultz (COVID-19, first)

Projected Lineups

Predators

Filip Forsberg — Mikael Granlund — Matt Duchene
Eli Tolvanen — Ryan Johansen — Luke Kunin
Yakov Trenin — Mathieu Olivier — Tanner Jeannot
Nick Cousins — Michael McCarron — Philipp Tomasino

Mark Borowiecki — Dante Fabbro
Mattias Ekholm — Alexandre Carrier
Matthew Benning — Philippe Myers

Juuse Saros
David Rittich

Scratched: LHD Ben Harpur

* The Predators advised that they will update their COVID-19 protocol list on Wednesday morning

Capitals

Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary — Nicklas Backstrom — Aliaksei Protas
Connor McMichael — Lars Eller — Garnet Hathaway
Carl Hagelin — Nic Dowd — Brett Leason

Dmitry Orlov — John Carlson
Michal Kempny — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Alexander Alexeyev — Matt Irwin

Ilya Samsonov
Pheonix Copley

Scratched: C Beck Malenstyn, LHD Lucas Johansen

* Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette and assistant Kevin McCarthy will face their former team for the first time since the Predators fired them on January 6, 2020

Game Notes

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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1 Response to Nashville at Washington Preview: Capitals Resume Season vs. Predators on Wednesday

  1. Anonymous says:

    I thought Vtec was out on covid and Sgarbossa was out on waivers

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