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Predators down Capitals in shootout

Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 10:41 PM CT / News
By John Manasso  - NHL.com
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Predators down Capitals in shootout

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators received two goals from Patric Hornqvist and Craig Smith scored the shootout winner in a 4-3 victory against the Washington Capitals at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday night.

Craig Smith scored on a wrist shot to the stick side for Nashville in the second round of the shootout. The Predators improved to 7-4-1 in their past 12 games.

Nashville goalie Carter Hutton (23 saves) picked up his 18th win when he made a right pad save on Nicklas Backstrom in the third round.

Backstrom tied the game 3-3 at 12:20 of the third period with a wrist shot from the right circle on the man advantage. Troy Brouwer scored two power-play goals for the Capitals.

The loss hurt Washington (34-28-13) in terms of the Eastern Conference's wild-card race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Capitals, who have seven games left, are one point behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second-wild card spot; Columbus has a game in hand. Washington has now lost three straight (0-1-2).

Nashville (33-32-11) kept alive its slim postseason hopes. The Predators are seven points behind the Phoenix Coyotes for the Western Conference's second wild-card spot.

Nashville captain Shea Weber scored on a slap shot low to Capitals goalie Jaroslav Halak's blocker side to put the Predators up 3-2 at 8:23 of the third period. Matt Cullen entered Washington's zone, dropped the puck for Mike Fisher and then drove to the net. Fisher left the puck for Weber, whose goal was his 21st of the season, tops among NHL defensemen. The line of Cullen, Fisher and Hornqvist, along with the defense pair of Weber and Roman Josi, were on ice for all three of Nashville's goals.

The Predators took a succession of penalties in the second period that allowed Washington to even the score at 2-2. Nashville was called for too many men on the ice at 11:43, which the Predators killed. Then Josi was called for interference at 13:53, and Washington converted.

Brouwer scored his second goal of the game and 23rd on the season by backhanding a loose puck from the slot over Hutton at 14:22.

Weber proved to be a catalyst on a key sequence at the end of the first period that allowed Nashville to take a 2-1 lead into first intermission. Weber sprawled to break up a 2-on-1 led by Capitals wing Alex Ovechkin. Then he got up off the ice and cleared the puck out of the zone.

Hornqvist scored his second goal of the game 18 seconds later on a breakaway, roofing a shot past Halak from close range with 90 seconds left in the period. The goal was Hornqvist's 17th of the season.

Washington took a 1-0 lead as a result of Backstrom's strip of Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm in the Predators' zone. Backstrom fed Mike Green and the latter found Brouwer, who blasted a one-timer into an open net at 4:17. The goal was Brouwer's 22nd of the season.

Nashvillle answered 98 seconds later. Weber unleashed one of his trademark slap shots and Halak could not control the rebound. Hornqvist beat defenseman Patrick Wey to the puck and shoveled it in for his 16th goal.

Wey later fought Nashville's Rich Clune at 8:16 of the first; Wey took an uppercut that left him needing a few moments on the ice before regain his bearings. He did not return and Washington played with five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

Halak's play was crucial in keeping Washington in the game. He stopped Smith with a stick save on a breakaway early in the second period and then in a 4-on-4 situation, he gloved Hornqvist's attempt at a hat trick when Hornqvist broke in alone and was denied on a wrist shot.

Halak, who started the season in the Central Division as a member of the St. Louis Blues, entered the game 10-3-3 against Nashville.

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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
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
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