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Capitals fall in OT to Predators, dropping fifth of past six games

Capitals fall in OT to Predators, dropping fifth of past six games

Final score: Washington Capitals 1, Nashville Predators 2

How it happened: Brett Connolly put the Caps up in the first, but a Marcus Johansson turnover turned into a second period goal for the Predators. The Capitals seemed to be getting the better of the play, but found themselves in a 1-1 tie which neither team could break in the third period. It didn't take Nashville long after that as Viktor Arvidsson scored just 1:05 into OT to win it for Nashville.

What it means: Washington has now lost five of their last six games with only three points in that stretch. They now sit only two points ahead of Pittsburgh who was idle on Thursday. Columbus could also shorten the margin to two points with a win (that game still in progress at time of writing).

Goals

Caps goal: Brett Connolly form Jakub at 11:41 in the first period. The third line applied a relentless forecheck until Lars Eller was able to generate a turnover from Kevin Fiala. Vrana pounced on the loose puck for a mini 2-on-0 against Rinne. Vrana fed Connolly who buried the shot. Caps 1, Predators 0

Predators goal: James Neal from Kevin Fiala at 18:56 in the second. Neal intercepted a pass from Johansson in Nashville's defensive zone and broke out on the rush. He passed to Fiala who laid the drop back pass back to Neal who fired the long-range wrister that beat Braden Holtby glove side. Caps 1, Predators 1

Predators goal: Viktor Arvidsson from Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi at 1:05 in overtime. Alex Ovechkin floated a bit too far in pursuit of a retreating Johansen and Evgeny Kuznetsov tried to make a quick line change leaving Arvidsson free for a 2-on-1. Arvidsson buried the shot for the gamewinner. Caps 1, Predators 2

3 stars

1. Viktor Arvidsson: Arvidsson found an opening in overtime and he made it count, burying the game-winner behind Holtby.

2. Evgeny Kuznetsov: Washington's second line looked dangerous all night and that was largely because of the play of Kuznetsov. he skated and dangled his way through Nashville's defense and make it look easy in the process.

3. James Neal: It's rare to see a player beat Holtby clealnly with a long-range shot, but Neal did exactly that in the second period to give the Predators life.

Look ahead: The Caps head south for a Saturday night matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, then return for a three-game home stand that will see Calgary, Columbus and Arizona all come to town.

Tell us what you think: Kevin Shattenkirk made his return from a two-game suspension leaving Nate Schmidt as a healthy scratch. What did you think of Shattenkirk's game? If you were crafting a top six for the defense, what it be?

MORE CAPITALS: Tom Wilson drops gloves to fight Predators' Austin Watson

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4 reasons why the Caps beat the Senators

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USA TODAY Sports

4 reasons why the Caps beat the Senators

The Capitals head into Thanksgiving on a high note after a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.

Here's why they won.

Line changes

Barry Trotz surprised everyone by changing up the lines and reuniting Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom despite coyly telling the media that he would use the same "group" just two hours before the game. The move worked, however, as an energized Caps team took the ice. The moves were not just felt on the top line, there was a boost all throughout the lineup to start the game and the energy the team played with was evident.

The Caps’ best offensive players looked like their best offensive players

Much has been written in recent days about the Caps’ top-six and its offensive struggles, but they seemed just fine against Ottawa. Ovechkin (1 goal), Backstrom (1 assist), T.J. Oshie (2 assists), Evgeny Kuznetsov (1 goal, 2 assists) and Jakub Vrana (2 goals) all had big nights.

Ovechkin's late first period goal

Multi-goal leads have been hard to come by for the Caps of late. Despite a strong first period, Washington held only a 1-0 lead as the first frame drew to a close. Instead of having a chance to regroup in the locker room, Ottawa found itself suddenly down by two as Ovechkin scored with just five seconds left. That goal set the tone for the start of the second period where Washington was able to tack on another two goals to take the 4-0 lead. Does that momentum carry over to the second without Ovechkin's late tally? I'm not so sure.

Killing a 5-on-3 power play in the second period

Despite the 4-0 deficit, the Senators hung around and scored in the second period to make it 4-1. Then Ovechkin was called for a high-stick and Backstrom got into a bit of a tussle with Ben Harpur after getting a high-stick from him. The ref sent Ovechkin, Backstrom and Harpur to the box. Just 44 seconds later, Tom Wilson joined them after getting called for a slash giving the Senators 1:16 of a two-man advantage power play. One goal would have pulled them within two with over a period left to play. This game was not over. This was a critical moment for Washington and the penalty kill delivered by killing off both penalties. After that, the game really was no longer in doubt.

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3 stars of the game: Caps' stars shine against Senators

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USA TODAY Sports

3 stars of the game: Caps' stars shine against Senators

On the eve of Thanksgiving, the Caps gave the home crowd something to be thankful for with a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators.

Barry Trotz elected to shake up the offensive lines before the game and it seemed to work. The Caps took control of the game from the drop of the puck and took a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period and never looked back.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jakub Vrana

Vrana opened the scoring by crashing the net and was in perfect position for the rebound off of a shot from Evgeny Kuznetsov. His second goal came off a perfect shot, and I do mean perfect. This was the first multi-goal game of his NHL career and his third multi-point game. 

2. Evgeny Kuznetsov

This is why Kuznetsov should shoot more. Vrana's first goal came off a rebound from a shot by Kuznetsov. It was his first even-strength point since Nov. 6. On a power play in the second period, a loose puck came to Kuznetsov's stick. Rather than look for the pass as he has been his tendency, he did not hesitate. He shot it and the result was his third power play goal of the season. Kuznetsov finished with one goal and two assists.

3. Alex Ovechkin

Despite how dominant the first period looked for Washington, they still held only a 1-0 lead. What really set the tone for the game was Ovechkin's first period goal. A quick passing play from Nicklas Backstrom to Alex Chiasson to Ovechkin found the Great 8 behind Ottawa's defense. He finished off the play with the goal to put Washington up 2-0 with just five seconds left in the period. That turned a good period into a dominant one and really set the tone for the start of the second in which the Caps were able to put up another two goals.