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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 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61