While their winning streak may have been stopped, the Nashville Predators were at least able to pick up another point in the standings by dropping an overtime decision to the Washington Capitals. The Preds couldn't hold on to a two-goal lead and ultimately coughed up a game winner by Brooks Laich (tipping an Alex Ovechkin shot), squandering countless power play opportunities along the way.
Follow after the jump for reaction and the video highlights...
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Depth carried the Preds out to the lead once again, as a new line of Marcel Goc, Colin Wilson and J.P. Dumont cashed in, with Wilson feeding the puck off the boards to Dumont, who rifled a wrister far-side on Michal Neuvirth in the Washington net. The Caps took four minor penalties in the opening period, which gave Nashville plenty of power play chances (and an 18-7 shot advantage), but they couldn't muster anything more than just the one goal.
Jordin Tootoo extended it to 2-0 in the second after making a nice play to hold the puck in at the blueline, and having his centering pass deflect into the net off a Washington defenseman. From that point on, however, Washington seized the initiative.
An interesting point in the contest came late in the 2nd period, after a lengthy defensive zone shift by the line of Legwand, Tootoo and Smithson with Suter & Weber on defense. They were under heavy pressure by the likes of Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, resulting in Shea Weber icing the puck. Barry Trotz took the opportunity to call a timeout, giving his skaters a rest (since they couldn't change due to the icing). While the Caps still carried the play coming out of the break (forcing Weber into an interference call 30 seconds later), at least Trotz put his troops in the best position to withstand the barrage.
Shortly after that penalty, the Preds took another roster blow when Nicklas Backstrom boarded Marcel Goc, who tumbled into the boards and suffered the dreaded "upper body injury", which kept him out the rest of the contest.
In the 3rd, a Cody Franson penalty resulted in a Washington power play goal, as they finally got on the board thanks to Alexander Semin, and later on Tomas Fleischmann tied the game at 2-2. The Preds were able to hold on and make it to overtime, despite a 12-8 shooting advantage for the Caps in the third period.
By that point, the Nashville power play had gone 0-for-6 (including some 5-on-3 time), and the penalty kill 3-for-4. A better performance on either front, and the Preds would have had a win in regulation.
Instead, a rush by Ovechkin in overtime forced Ryan Suter into taking a penalty, and in the resulting 4-on-3 power play, it was Ovechkin winding up with a slapper tipped by Brooks Laich, that beat Lindback for the winner.
As for reaction:
- Lindback, once again, looked very solid in goal. Having faced the defending Cup champs and Ovechkin's Caps in the same week is certainly the way to jump into NHL action.
- David Legwand and Colin Wilson both continue to impress, and Jordin Tootoo put 5 shots on net. Toots has a rocket, but all too often he fires it wide.
- If Goc has to miss any time due to injury, there are a number of options available. Jamie Lundmark is still on IR, Matthew Lombardi is supposedly "day-to-day", and Nick Spaling could be called up without having to worry about waivers.
- Sergei Kostitsyn is still working his way into the lineup. Even after Goc left the game, SK74 got only four shifts in the 3rd period, and 7:35 for the game.
- Jerred Smithson was an outstanding 11-for-14 on faceoffs, while Legwand was just 4-for-12.
And now, your video highlights (might have to wait a bit post-game for the video to work):
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