Washington packed their bags and a modest two game winning streak and traveled to Tennessee to face the Predators - winners of four straight. And there the Capitals ran into a deep Nashville team that thoroughly dismantled their guests and skated away with an easy and entertaining 6 to 3 home ice victory.
Here's Tuesday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: Matt Niskanen returned to the Capitals lineup for the first time since October 13th contest and skated 17:00. That should be considered a win regardless of the game’s outcome.
Minus: Washington did not register a shot through the game’s first 17:50 of play. If you missed the first it was as awful as you could imagine (but actually worse).
Twelve more notes on the game.
- Alex Ovechkin and Roman Josi gifting their sticks to Hockey Fights Cancer Ambassador Andy Owens after the ceremonial puck drop was something really special.
- And only 18 seconds of play later the Predators had already hit the crossbar behind Braden Holtby, fired two shots on net, and were heading to the power play with Brooks Orpik penalized. Strong penalty killing from Holtby and the Capitals kept Nashville off the scoreboard early.
- With Washington on their heels following a second penalty kill Kevin Fiala’s point shot was redirected by Craig Smith in the slot (with another penalty against the Capitals forthcoming) for the Predators’ first goal.
- Nick Bonino would extend Nashville’s lead to two with two minutes remaining in the first, deflecting a Josi shot up and over an outstretched Holtby. Bridgestone Arena was rocking and the Capitals looked flat.
- But in the second period T.J. Oshie would respond by tallying his 8th of the season. With a John Carlson point shot rising Oshie shielded himself from impact and deflected the puck beyond the reach of Pekka Rinne. Washington was alive.
- Less than two minutes later Alex Chiasson would tally his second of the season by ripping home a Brett Connolly pass from atop the slot. Washington was roaring for the moment.
- Unfortunately Filip Forsberg would strike against his former club only 17 seconds later to take the life out of the Capitals’ bench. A soft shot from Forsberg deflected off of Orpik’s right skate and beyond Holtby’s left to restore Nashville’s lead. Fiala would extend that lead to two with a successful one touch in the slot three minutes later.
- Oshie would finish a nice passing play between Chandler Stephenson and Nicklas Backstrom (coincidentally 17 seconds after Fiala’s goal) to draw Washington within one once again, halfway through the contest.
- A little later though Miikka Salomaki stepped into the slot against Madison Bowey and rifled a shot up and over Holtby’s left shoulder (Holtby’s first clean goal against) to reinstate another Predators’ two goal lead.
- And with Oshie in the penalty box a few minutes later Mattias Ekholm completed the second period’s offensive explosion with his second of the season. 6 to 3 Predators.
- Philipp Grubauer would enter the contest in the third to clean everything up. Quite surprisingly the frame was scoreless.
- 99 career goals for Forsberg entering tonight’s game (all with Nashville). 100 career goals for Forsberg after tonight’s game (115 including playoffs).