Nashville Predators score 3 in 2nd period, beat Capitals 5-2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Filip Forsberg has scored so well coming off back-to-back hat tricks, the Nashville forward had the Washington Capitals watching closely every time the Swede touched the puck.
Forsberg scored the winning goal and had two assists as the Predators scored three in the second period in beating the Capitals 5-2 on Saturday.
The Swede missed becoming the first in NHL history with a hat trick in three consecutive games. He still notched his seventh goal in three games as Nashville won its second straight and third in four games. Forsberg’s first assist came on the first of Roman Josi’s two goals.
Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said he was waiting for Forsberg to shoot, too.
”I think everybody in the building was waiting for him to unload it, and he just made an unbelievable play,” Laviolette said. ”It was good timing by Roman to hit the backdoor pocket like that. I think because it was Filip and because of the noise around him, he just looked at the net, and the goalie had to freeze on it too.”
Mike Fisher and Viktor Arvidsson each had a goal. Ryan Johansen had three assists.
The Predators denied their former coach, Barry Trotz, his 700th career win in the building where he started his career as an NHL coach back in 1998.
Tom Wilson and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for the Capitals. They beat Edmonton 2-1 in Washington on Friday night and were without T.J. Oshie and defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen.
”I think it was a little bit of a tough turnaround,” Trotz said. ”At the same time, it’s not really any excuse.”
Alex Ovechkin skated in his 900th NHL game – all with the Capitals. The player with the second-most points among NHL players through their first 900 games behind only Jaromir Jagr nearly added his 553rd goal at 4:03 of the third trying to rally the Caps.
Laviolette challenged for Ovechkin being offside when Nicklas Backstrom brought the puck into the zone and won the challenge with Ovechkin’s right skate just ahead of the puck.
The Predators had Friday off after beating Colorado 4-2 on Thursday night, but Washington came out with much more jump taking a 1-0 lead just 1:12 into the game.
Wilson scored from in front for the easy tip-in behind Saros. The Capitals kept him busy as Saros stopped Justin Williams from in front with Washington on the power play and later smothered the puck after Wilson didn’t catch all of it from in front.
”We didn’t play the game that everybody knows we can play,” Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said.
No team has outscored opponents more in the second period than the Predators, and they took control with a three-goal flurry.
”I have no idea honestly,” Josi said about Nashville’s second-period success. ”It’s been good to us.”
Josi got his 10th this season 1:56 into the second off an assist from Forsberg, who drew the Capitals to him leaving Josi all alone in the left circle. Forsberg made it 2-1 with a slap shot from the right circle that went off the post at 8:54.
Fisher scored his 15th this season with Ovechkin in the box again off a shot-pass from Ellis for the easy tip-in at 11:53.
Josi made it 4-1 with a slap shot three seconds into a power play at 12:07. Kuznetsov scored with 2:57 left, but Arvidsson scored the empty-netter off a pass from Forsberg.
”I was on my backhand, and he was almost at the red line already,” Forsberg said.
NOTES: Forsberg now has 20 goals in his last 31 games, 14 of those in the past 20. … Forsberg has nine points (five goals, four assists) in five career games against Washington, the team that drafted the Swede. … The Predators improved to 22-0-5 when leading after two periods. … The Capitals had been 8-3-2 in their last 13 road games.
Capitals: At New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
Predators: Hosts Edmonton on Sunday.
This story has been updated to show Nashville hosts Edmonton on Sunday as the Predators’ next game.