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Three-goal first leads Capitals past Predators

Saturday, 12.7.2013 / 10:38 PM CT / News
By Staff Writer | NHL.com
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Three-goal first leads Capitals past Predators

WASHINGTON – The Washington Capitals wasted little time pouncing on the Nashville Predators, scoring three unanswered first-period goals en route to a 5-2 victory on Saturday at Verizon Center.

Troy Brouwer, Alex Ovechkin, Karl Alzner, Nate Schmidt and Eric Fehr scored for Washington. Braden Holtby made 34 saves in the win.

"Lately a lot of the time, we've been coming from behind, having to come down from either one or two goals," Brouwer said. "You're not going to have a ton of success later on in the season doing that. We were able to squeeze out some points here and there, but you can only win so many games like that, so for us, we wanted to get off to a good start...and we did."

Roman Josi and Eric Nystrom scored for Nashville, which has lost five straight (0-4-1).

"It's making it very difficult," Predators coach Barry Trotz said of the recent slide. "You can't just look at the big picture, better to just look at the next game. Win the next game and you've got to work at it a game at a time. ... We just don't have the finish we need right now."

Brouwer opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the season and his second at even strength at 6:44. Marek Mazanec (28 saves) made the initial save on Fehr's shot from the right half-wall, but could not swallow the rebound. Despite being tangled up with Ryan Ellis in front, Brouwer was able to get enough on the puck for it to trickle past Mazanec's outstretched right leg and over the goal line.

Washington received its first power play of the game at 13:06, and it took Ovechkin all of three seconds to extend the lead to 2-0 with his League-leading 22nd goal, when he blew a slap shot past Mazanec off a clean faceoff victory by Nicklas Backstrom (two assists).

Alzner's slap shot from the point – his first-ever goal at Verizon Center in his 148th career home game – gave the Capitals a 3-0 lead at 16:19, but it was short-lived. Josi responded with his first goal of the season in the waning moments of the period.

After a scoreless second period, the Capitals and Predators exchanged goals within 23 seconds in the third. Schmidt scored his first career NHL goal at 3:29 before Nystrom answered with his fifth of the season at 3:53.

"Me and [Schmidt] have been talking about it back and forth how he hasn't scored yet and I haven't scored at home," Alzner said. "In the intermission, I said, 'Alright Schmidty, now that I've scored, you can score one,' and he went out and did it."

Fehr then restored Washington's three-goal lead with a wrister at 14:50.

Coincidentally, each team's next game is against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The Capitals visit on Sunday; Nashville will visit New York on Tuesday.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
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10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 54 21 28 5 132 164 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 53 10 27 -2 37
S. Weber 53 14 21 -4 35
F. Forsberg 53 15 18 -6 33
M. Ribeiro 53 6 27 3 33
J. Neal 53 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 53 6 16 3 22
R. Ellis 52 6 15 2 21
C. Smith 53 11 6 -1 17
C. Jarnkrok 52 9 7 0 16
C. Wilson 36 4 12 0 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 17 7 .904 2.50
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36