Nashville Predators 3, Washington Capitals 2: Depth, goaltending give Preds win

They continue to beat the odds.

The Nashville Predators arrived at Capital One Arena on the second half of a back-to-back to take on the Washington Capitals, having won yesterday on the back of a record-breaking performance of Juuse Saros in goal. The Preds’ offensive woes seem somewhat mitigated of late, but despite injuries, Alexander Ovechkin’s Capitals are a formidable foe even on the second half of their own back-to-back.

First Period

Tommy Novak continued his scoring ways early, picking off a pass from Washington’s Erik Gustafsson near the right side boards and moving quickly to the slot, placing it short side on Charlie Lindgren. 1-0 Preds.

The Capitals drew the first penalty shortly thereafter with a tripping call on Yakov Trenin. On the ensuing power play, the Predators were largely successful in keeping the Capitals’ first power play unit from getting set up in the zone. However, as the penalty was expiring, Sonny Milano managed to tuck the puck in behind an outstretched Kevin Lankinen to tie the game up with 10:08 remaining in the period. 1-1.

Less than two minutes later, Cody Glass drew a holding penalty from Aubé-Kubel to put the Predators on the power play for the first time in the game. The Preds, however, only had one shot on the power play.

At 4:51 Yakov Trenin made up for this prior penalty and put the Preds up again. Playing in the netfront position, Trenin tipped a shot by Jeremy Lauzon and then found a second chance as the puck rebounded off the Washington goaltender, tipping it out of midair and into the back of the net. 2-1 Preds.

With 3:54 remaining in the period, Washington’s Aubé-Kubel took his second penalty of the period for roughing Nino Niederreiter, putting the Predators on the power play again. The Predators, again only had one shot on goal, a beautiful glove save by Lindgren.

In the end, the Predators went to the locker room up 2-1 despite being outshot 9-15.

Second Period

The Predators had a good chance early in the period, but despite a scramble in front of the net, Lindgren was able to keep the puck out.

With 11:00 left in the period, Juuso Pärssinen had a beautiful chance with a lot of space in front of the Capitals’ net, but Lindgren stacked the pads and kept it out.

The teams traded chances again as the period continued, with Cody Glass getting a great look at one end and the Preds building off of that, before Aubé-Kubel took the puck back down the ice and redeemed himself for his earlier penalties by scoring to tie the game 2-2.

Carrier took a slashing penalty, leaving Ovechkin shaking his hand out before the Caps’ power play started, but once it did start Ovechkin looked ready to go. The Preds’ penalty kill put in some work, including a late shorthanded chance from Mikael Granlund, and the teams returned to even strength still tied.

The third period started poorly for the Preds, with a long string of Washington chances before Mattias Ekholm finally managed to get a shot on goal. Still, Lindgren made the save, and a few moments later Colton Sissons took a penalty. Although the Capitals—including Ovechkin—threatened, the Preds and Lankinen were able to kill it off.

With 3:16 left in regulation, Ryan McDonagh scored his first in gold to make it 3-2 Preds. The Capitals surged in response, trying to tie the game back up, With 1:10, they were able to pull Lindgren for the extra attacker, and the Preds passed up an alarming number of chances at the empty net, forcing Carrier to make a last-minute defensive play.

Tanner Jeannot got a shot into the empty net after the buzzer sounded, but too late to count. Still, the Preds managed to hold on for the win.