Nashville Predators 7, Washington Capitals 2: Taking The Champs Behind The Woodshed

Hat tricks, spin-o-rama goals and flying fists. The only thing this game missed was a Preds power play goal.

The Nashville Predators like seeing the Washington Capitals, at least this season.

The Preds netted a season-high seven goals in a 7-2 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions at Bridgestone Arena.

In two games this season, the Predators (28-16-4, 60 points) have outscored the Capitals 13-5.

North Pole, Alaska native Pheonix Copley (this is not made up, promise) started in goal for the Capitals (27-14-5, 59 points) and had to work early and often.

Viktor Arvidsson beat Copley five-hole 3:45 into the contest after being sprung on a breakaway from a Mattias Ekholm pass through the neutral zone. Ekholm’s assist gave him his 35th point, tying his career-best season total in just 47 games.

Nick Bonino doubled the lead, converting a 2-on-1 with Colton Sissons. The horn didn’t go right away as the referee initially waved the goal off before Copley pointed out the puck stuck in the net.

Arvidsson struck again early in the second, redirecting P.K. Subban’s point shot past Copley 1:21 into the period.

A slashing call on Jakub Vrana sent Nashville to the game’s first power play at the 1:55 mark of the second. Although a couple of good chances came early in the man advantage, eventually nothing came of it.

Subban was called for tripping at the 6:01 mark, putting Washington on its first power play of the game. Nicklas Backstrom tipped in a Carlson feed at 7:07 to cut Nashville’s lead to 3-1.

Calle Järnkrok was sent to the box for tripping at the 11:41 mark, but a neutral zone turnover, combined with a great effort play by Ryan Johansen, sprung Arvidsson on a breakaway. Arvy buried it five-hole for the hat trick with 7:52 to play in the period.

Rocco Grimaldi joined the fun with a goal-of-the-year candidate at 14:57, finishing a spin-o-rama with a stiff backhand past Copley.

Evgeny Kuznetsov was called for hooking late in the period, yet the resulting power play failed to yield anything for the Predators.

Bonino scored his second of the game on a redirection of a Ekholm shot in front with 5.8 seconds left in the second period.

The Preds returned to the power play at 4:54 of the third after John Carlson was called for slashing, and although nothing came of the man advantage, Calle Järnkrok buried Nashville’s seventh goal off a Kevin Fiala assist at the 7:56 mark of the period.

Carlson was sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct and also received a 10-minute misconduct at the 10:56 mark.

T.J. Oshie scored his 14th goal of the season with 3:49 to play.

Random Observations

  • It’s only been two weeks, but it sure feels like a month since there’s been a home game.
  • One by one, that IR list shortens. Welcome back, Yannick Weber.
  • I’m all for a goaltender with Copley’s last name, but dang it, spell Phoenix correctly.
  • This start is much better than Sunday’s game at Carolina, but then again, that bar was buried about 20 feet underground.
  • Can’t make a better pass than Ekholm did to Arvy. Also can’t make a better finish, either.
  • Love Arvy’s unselfish nature wanting to pass to Fil on that 2-on-1, but for heaven’s sake, shoot the puck. They’re giving it to you...
  • That puck clearly went in. What a strange 10-second sequence.
  • It’s clear that Washington is feeling the effects of the back-to-back.
  • Weber gets caught pinching in too far, Hamhuis bails him out by poke-checking away a possible 3-on-1
  • One of these days I want to see Arvy in the fastest skater competition at the All-Star Game. Just to see.
  • Strange sequence as Saros went out a long way to play a loose puck and it nearly costs him. Strong play by Bonino to bail the guys out as time runs out in the period.
  • Arvy with a stellar redirect for his second of the night. Roman Josi really helped set that play up.
  • A couple of good chances on that power play, including Forsberg undressing the Caps’ PK, but still...
  • Go thank your left post, Juuse
  • It’s National Hat Day and Arvy wants to see a bunch thrown...
  • ...and they were thrown.
  • Also, that play by Joey to spring Arvy was a work of art.
  • Austin Watson and Tom Wilson are gonna have a go. Shocker.
  • Oh. My. God. Rocco Grimaldi. I think the entire crowd just got pregnant by that goal. Hell, I probably did.
  • The D pairings work well. Funny that it took the sixth guy (Weber) coming back for these combos to happen, but here we are. /

Five(!) Stars of the Game

  1. Arvy. I locked this one in during the second period for obvious reasons.
  2. Grimaldi. One of the best goals I’ve ever seen in person.
  3. Saros. He really got overshadowed by all the goal scoring, but he’s got it going right now.
  4. (I’m cheating, sue me) Bonino. It’s so hard to put him here with a two-goal night, but it’s because the other three deserved those spots.
  5. Ekholm. Not gonna stop talking about him if he keeps this production up.

Tweets of the Night

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