Washington Capitals 4, Nashville Predators 1: Winnik and Kuznetsov Lead Caps Over Preds

The Predators falter in the 2nd half of a back-to-back, losing convincingly to the Washington Capitals.

The Nashville Predators were outmatched against the Washington Capitals tonight, losing 4-1 after going up 1-0 briefly. The Caps generated scoring from several players, but Evgeny Kuznetsov and Daniel Winnik were the catalysts, providing 5 points and dominating play when the game was on the line.

In the 1st, Filip Forsberg got his 29th goal of the year, and his 4th career goal against the team that drafted him, to put the Preds up 1-0. The Caps would then go on the offensive, getting three goals in the 2nd period from Daniel Winnik (2) and T. J. Oshie to put the home team up 3-1. The Preds offense seemed rattled, the defense was outworked and Hutton's confidence was quickly vanishing. The Caps would follow with another goal early in the 3rd period by Andre Burakovsky. From there, it was basically over. The Preds just couldn't get any sustained attack and both teams seemed content to play the puck out until the final whistle.

The Preds still managed two points in a back-to-back against two Eastern Conference playoff teams. And now they play 7 of their final 11 games at home. I don't enjoy losing, but it's going to happen. And it might as well happen on the road against the best team in the NHL.

Random Observations

  • Caps come out shooting and Carter Hutton has to be sharp early. The Predators look a bit on their heels. They will have to weather a well-rested Capitals team, who last played on Tuesday vs. the Hurricanes.
  • 1st period was a bit of a snoozer, which is good news for the Preds. They could probably use the extra winks. Give the edge to the Caps, as they had more high-danger scoring chances (2) than the Preds (1) and outshot the Preds 11-4. Hutton played well for the first 20 minutes. No Pred came that close to scoring. Teams kind of feeling each other out at this point.
  • Finally, something happened. Something good. The Predators tally first on their second power-play of the night. Who else but Filip Forsberg. One of the hardest and quickest wristers we've seen from him this year and from his favorite spot, that top right circle. Just unfair. 1-0 Preds.
  • The Caps power-play is good beyond measure. Sure, the Preds technically stopped them on that first goal, but the goal came about a second after the power-play ended. The Caps caught the Preds in a line change and Kuznetsov made an incredible play to find Winnik on the score. You cannot relax for a second against this team.
  • Evgeny "Froze His" Kuznetsov is a solid hockey player and an incredible passer. That drop pass behind the net is just sick.
  • Hutton hasn't been terrible, but he wasn't close to stopping either of the Caps first two goals. He was way out of the net on the first one (Kuznetsov looked likely to shoot) and he didn't even know where the puck was on the second one (Kuznetsov, again).
  • Winnik with a soft wrister that Hutton never saw. Should have stopped that one. Here comes the snowball...
  • 3rd period Caps + 2 goal deficit + tired Preds = not good. And then Burakovksy scores to make it 4-1. Early bedtime for this Preds fan.
  • The Preds are almost certainly out of this game, but are still fighting hard. This might be the most predictable loss of the year. On the road, the second game of a back-to-back, against the best team in the NHL. It doesn't look like the Preds are regressing. They are just over-matched in a tough situation.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Evgeny Kuznetsov: Literally the only Caps player that allows Caps fans to forget about Martin Erat
  • Daniel Winnik: Two slick goals that came off of brilliant plays by Kuz. His first two goals since his trade to the Caps on February 29th.
  • Filip Forsberg: No matter the outcome, Forsberg always makes the Super Duper Stars of the Game when the Preds play the Capitals.

Tweets of the Night

Twitter was off to a slow start... I had to make a plea for tweets. You brought it eventually, though.

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