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Nashville Predators vs. Washington Capitals Preview: A hat trick of hat tricks?

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Can Filip Forsberg become just the third player in NHL history to score a hat trick in three consecutive games?

Washington Capitals v Nashville Predators Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Former Predator coach Barry Trotz and the Washington Capitals are in Nashville to take on former Capital draft pick Filip Forsberg and the Nashville Predators in a battle of familiar faces tonight.

The Washington Capitals

The Capitals lead the NHL in points with 89. They are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, and are coming off a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers yesterday.

They are by far the most dangerous team Nashville has faced this season. They have the fifth-ranked power play (22.1%) and sixth-ranked penalty kill (84.5%) in the league. They also score the second most goals per game in the NHL (3.36) and give up the fewest (2.07).

Alex Ovechkin leads the Capitals in goals with 27, while T.J. Oshie isn’t far behind him with 24. Nicklas Backstrom is quietly having a nice 63-point season, and he is the Capitals’ leading scorer. He is also the fifth-leading scorer in the NHL, bet you didn’t know that did you?

The Nashville Predators

The Preds are 6-3-3 all-time at home against the Capitals, including wins in three of their last four at Bridgestone Arena.

They are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games, with points in three straight games. All eyes will be on Forsberg. Can he make it three-straight hat tricks? Forsberg leads the league in goals since Dec. 19 (19) and has seven points (6g-1a) in his last three games. Forsberg is one of 26 total players in the league with at least 22 goals this season. Twenty-two goals is the 10th highest total in the NHL.

Roman Josi is also riding a hot streak. He has 10 points (4g-6a) in his last eight games and has a three-game assist streak going. P.K. Subban also appears to be rounding into form. He has nine points (1g-8a) in his last seven games, including four games with multiple points.

Ryan Johansen still leads the team in scoring with 43 points, with Forsberg (42) and Arvidsson (41) not far behind him. Forsberg is the team’s leading goal scorer with 22. The Preds also have four other players with double digit goals: Viktor Arvidsson (19), James Neal (18), Mike Fisher (14) and Calle Jarnkrok (12).

Reasons to Watch

  1. Filip Forsberg - he has recorded a hat trick in consecutive games, becoming the first NHL player since January, 2010 to do so. He is looking to become just the third player in NHL history to record a hat trick in three-straight games.
  2. Who will start in goal? Pekka Rinne played fairly well in the 4-2 win against the Avalanche. However, it is no secret Preds fans love them some Juuse Saros. With Pekka’s success against the Edmonton Oilers - the Preds opponent on Sunday - it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Saros start tonight and Rinne start on Sunday.
  3. The “hey, remember that guy?” effect - Barry Trotz had a fairly successful tenure as Predators head coach. He is enjoying success with his new club, but to some degree, it’s still a little odd seeing Trotzy on the opposing bench in Nashville. On the flip side, how badly do you think Washington wishes they could have a do-over on the Forsberg for Martin Erat trade? Forsberg will always be the one that got away in Washington.

Sights & Sounds

The game starts at 4 p.m. CST today and you can watch the game on Fox Sports TN or the Fox Sports Go app - which now lets Comcast customers stream games! As always, you can listen to Pete Weber and Brent Peterson call the game on 102.5 the Game Nashville.

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