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After a rough game against St. Louis last night, Washington was looking to get back on track and avoid a three-game losing streak. Reirden made some lineup changes, and Pheonix Copley started his second game in as many nights to give Braden Holtby a bit more time to fully recover from his eye injury. This was always going to be a tough game for the Capitals (second night of a back-to-back against a very good Nashville team on their turf), and the Copley situation didn’t help, but this was a particularly bad showing for them. The Predators took advantage of their sloppy play and absolutely routed the Caps for a 7-1 victory.
Here’s Tuesday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: Even though they allowed a shorthanded goal, the Capitals’ power play looked sharp tonight. Hopefully this means the man-advantage is getting back on track.
Minus: Pheonix Copley had looked good so far this season, but he had a rough night in net for Washington. He allowed seven goals on 29 shots, and this is one of the only times he’s looked like a back-up.
And now, this…
Smells like it's time for some hockey. #CapsPreds #AuthenticFan pic.twitter.com/xZQEAZhCq6— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) January 16, 2019
Twelve more notes on the game:
1. The Capitals needed a strong start and they...did not get one. Viktor Arvidsson got the Predators on the board first at the 3:45 mark after a pass from WIlson to Ovechkin was stolen away and thrown up the ice by Ekholm. Copley was frozen on the odd-man rush, giving Arvidsson his second goal in as many games between these two teams this season. Something else to note: Nashville blueliner Mattias Ekholm now has 21 assists in his last 27 games.
2. Does anyone else still wince when they hear the name Nick Bonino? If you do, then the Predators’ second goal of the night probably didn’t help. Another odd-man rush, another goal, and this time it was Bonino with the wrist shot past Copley. This came just seven minutes after the Preds’ first goal.
3. Arvidsson got back on the score sheet just 81 seconds into the second period with a beautiful deflection of a PK Subban shot from the blue line. Copley had no chance on that one, and Nashville extended their lead to 3-0.
4. 34 seconds later, Jakub Vrana was sent to the box for slashing. With both Devante Smith-Pelly and Chandler Stephenson out of the lineup to night, the Capitals’ penalty kill seemed uncertain. However, the Caps held on and didn’t allow a shot on goal from Nashville’s power play.
5. With 14 minutes left in the period, it was Washington’s turn to go on the man advantage after PK Subban called for tripping. Nicklas Backstrom answered the call with a slick deflection past Juuse Saros to get the Caps on the board. They were still down 1-3, but things were picking up.
Great deflection by Backstrom pic.twitter.com/FrcLJLf0b3— HockeyKot (@hockeykot) January 16, 2019
6. About five minutes later, Calle Jarnkrok was called for tripping and the Caps rolled into their second power play of the night. However, all of the energy that had been building since Nicky’s goal was negated when Arvidsson his second career hat trick on a shorthanded goal just 27 seconds in. Ryan Johansen set him up for a breakaway, and the hats rained down in Brigestone Arena. Nashville up 4-1.
7. Rocco Grimaldi decided to add insult to injury with an incredible highlight-reel goal to extend the Predators’ lead to 5-1. It’s hard to get angry at such a pretty goal, but feel free to get mad at the lack of effort from Burakovsky on this one.
That's one for the highlight reel. Grimaldi scores a spinning bakchander. 5-1 Predators. #CapsPreds pic.twitter.com/BozmKPKLlG— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) January 16, 2019
8. Perhaps in hopes to spark something, Tom Wilson took on Predators forward Austin Watson towards the end of the period. They tussled, exchanged some jabs, and Wilson walked away with the victory.
Tom Wilson takes down Austin Watson pic.twitter.com/GiKZXqWDGl— HockeyKot (@hockeykot) January 16, 2019
9. That should have been the end of the second period, but Nick Bonino had other plans. With 5.8 seconds left on the clock, he tipped in a shot from Ekholm to give the Predators a 6-1 lead after 40. If things weren’t ugly before, they sure were now.
10. A bad turnover in the Capitals’ defensive zone gave the Preds their seventh goal of the game, this one courtesy of Calle Jarnkrok. 7-1 Nashville.
11. With 3:49 left in the third, the Caps got one back with a goal from TJ Oshie, who played in his 700th NHL game tonight. While the goal itself didn’t mean much, it was nice work from Oshie and Kuznetsov and it snapped the Capitals even-strength goal drought that was going to hit three full games tonight.
Kuzy serves up Oshie and he finds the back of the net to get us a 2nd on the board. #CapsPreds #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/hb0t2PbHOy— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 16, 2019
12. With the Capitals’ loss in Nashville and Columbus’ victory over New Jersey tonight, the Blue Jackets have now taken over first place in the Metro Division.
The Capitals get a much-needed two days off before returning to Capital One Arena to face Barry Trotz’s Islanders. This will be Trotz’s first return to DC since last season, and for Associate Coach Lane Lambert and Director of Goaltending Mitch Korn as well. Tune in early to that broadcast to catch the ceremony honoring Brooks Orpik and his 1,000th NHL game!