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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 - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33