Sergei Fedorov scored the winner at 2:20 of the overtime period as Washington stopped a four-game losing streak, and beat the Predators 2-1 in front of 16,064 at the Sommet Center in Nashville. The loss halted a five-game winning streak on home ice for the Preds, although the fans were entertained by a couple rousing fights (video below)...
Things certainly got off to a great start for the Predators, with Ryan Suter scoring in the opening minute to give Nashville a 1-0 lead. The Preds did a reasonably good job of keeping Washington shooters to the outside, and sweeping away rebounds that Dan Ellis was leaving. The thunder came late in the 1st, as Wade Belak squared off with Donald Brashear; while it looked like the Caps enforcer had the early initiative, Belak connected with a couple heavy blows and rocked Brashear down to the ice. I (and many of the commenters over at Japer's Rink) have never seen Brashear take such a loss, it was a convincing win for Belak.
Right off the next faceoff, Jordin Tootoo dropped the gloves with Matt Bradley, who had hit Tootoo from behind earlier. That match was just as spirited, and left Bradley's face a bloody mess.
Starting in the second period, however, the ice started to tilt in Washington's favor, and the Nashville attack started to resemble the goal-starved bunch from December and January, not the high-flying scorers of the last couple weeks. Late in the second, Nicklas Backstrom sprung loose into the slot and he finished off a tic-tac-toe play by deking Dan Ellis out of his net to tie the game.
In the 3rd, Washington outshot Nashville 17-8, as the Preds took some penalties while trying to ward off the Caps forwards. The penalty killers continued their fine work, and most fans were relieved to at least see the team hold off some furious pressure by Washington in the final minute.
Despite a recent run of scoreboard-scorching games, Nashville remains an offensively-challenged club, and particularly once Jason Arnott left the game (he skated just one shift in the 3rd), the game was a case of the Predators working hard to limit Washington chances and just clear the zone. Ellis certainly did his part, turning aside 39 of 40 shots in regulation to at least get the Preds to overtime and earn one point in the standings, keeping pace with Edmonton and Minnesota which also lost in OT tonight.
UPDATE: For your viewing pleasure, here are the fight videos from tonight.
First, Belak vs. Brashear:
Second, Tootoo vs. Bradley: