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NHL on NBCSN: Preds look to clinch division, conference against Capitals

Nashville Predators v Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 16: Ryan Johansen #92 of the Nashville Predators skates in front of John Carlson #74 of the Washington Capitals during the first period at Verizon Center on March 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Thursday, as the Washington Capitals host the Nashville Predators at 7:00 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here.

The Predators locked up their playoff spot a long time ago, but they can lock up the Central Division and the Western Conference with a win against the Capitals tonight. A Jets loss would also lock up the division, while a Golden Knights loss would do the same for the conference.

Nashville thought they’d have a chance to clinch their division when they scored a late goal against the Panthers, but after review, the goal was called back because of goaltender interference. A lot of Preds fans, including Carrie Underwood, disagreed with the call.

The non-goal scorer, Filip Forsberg, was also pretty upset by the NHL’s decision.

“It’s a goal,” Forsberg said after the game, per Sportsnet. “It’s got to be a goal. … I don’t know what’s going on. It’s so inconsistent that we don’t even know when it’s a goal or not, but this one was clearly a goal. The puck was never covered. The goalie had no clue where it (was), and it ends up on my tape and it’s in. And they somehow don’t think so. I disagree 100 per cent.”

This will be the final game of the Preds’ three-game road trip that started with a win in Tampa and a loss in Florida. Only the Lightning (25) have more wins away from home than the Predators (24) in 2017-18.

As for the Capitals, they locked up their division with a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, but they’re already out of the running for the conference. So these final two games of the regular season don’t mean anything for Washington.

The one thing they could do over these last two games is figure out which goalie gives them the best chance to win. But it sounds like head coach Barry Trotz is content with the way things are going with Philipp Grubauer and Braden Holtby right now.
“We feel we can get both guys going,” Trotz said, per the Washington Post. “There hasn’t been much of a difference between the two of them, so we’re going that way. We’re going to need both goalies, and they’re both playing good right now, so I’m very happy with our goaltending situation.”

Hey, the Penguins used two goalies on their journey to winning two Stanley Cup titles, so maybe that’s the secret recipe for the Capitals, too.


Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.