The Capitals had a rough night in Nashville. They fell behind 2-0 in the first period, battled back to tie it at 2, but then the Predators took over and handed the Caps the 6-3 loss.
Here is how it happened.
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The first period
You would be hard-pressed to find a worse period of hockey from the Caps this season than what we saw in the first period Tuesday. By the time Washington got its first shot on goal, the Predators already led 2-0. The Caps were outshot 16-4 and were called for three penalties. Actually, they were called for four, but Craig Smith scored during the delayed call. Nashville came out of the game flying. Washington struggled to deal with their speed and struggled to get anything on net. The Predators were swarming in the defensive zone cutting off every shot and pass and just generally making life difficult for the Caps.
Nashville's second period response
Washington came out swinging in the second period with two goals less than two minutes apart to tie the game at 2. Filip Forsberg answered just 17 seconds later to re-establish the lead for Nashville and this time they would not relinquish it. Less than three minutes after Forsberg’s goal, Kevin Fiala made it 4-2. T.J. Oshie would also score in the second, but goals from Miikka Salomaki and Mattias Ekholm helped the Predators take a three-goal lead into the intermission.
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Braden Holtby has been on fire as of late. How do you beat a hot goalie? You get traffic in front and plenty of deflections. Nashville did just that as every one of their first four goals came off a deflection. They may have ultimately gotten five deflection goals, but it is hard to tell if Ekholm’s shot hit something on its way to the net.