The Capitals went down to the land of country music and BBQ and got back in the win column with timely scoring, some luck from the goalposts and strong play in net in a much-needed 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
Washington is now 27-15-9 on the season and will head to Philadelphia on Thursday before a week off.
Here are a few takeaways from the night:
Laviolette earns win No. 700
Capitals coach Peter Laviolette became the 10th coach in NHL history to earn 700 career wins, ironically against his former team in Nashville. Laviolette is also now tied with Mike Babcock for ninth all-time in career wins in NHL history.
In his second season as the Capitals bench boss, he’s staking his claim as one of the best coaches in NHL history.
Ovechkin inches closer to history
Alex Ovechkin scored his 30th goal of the season on a power play, and later scored on an empty net in the third period bringing his career goal total to 761 goals.
He has now scored at least 30 goals in 16 of his 17 NHL seasons, the lone exception of last year when the season was just 56 games. Ovechkin is also second in NHL history for the most 30-goal seasons in a career, trailing just Mike Gartner (17).
Ovechkin is now just five goals away from tying Jaromir Jagr for third all-time on the NHL’s career goals list.
4th line circus act
The Capitals’ 4th line put on a wonderful display early in the third period to put the team in front. Dmitry Orlov kept the puck in the zone, then Carl Hagelin found a posted-up Garnet Hathaway who redirected a pass to a cutting Nick Jensen who had a wide-open net.
The goal gave the Capitals back the lead, one they wouldn’t relinquish, off an outstanding passing play.
Snively stays scoring
Joe Snively scored his third goal in as many games with the lone first period tally.
The Virginia-native scored two goals last week against the Montreal Canadiens and was able to convert on a three-on-one rush to put the Capitals up 1-0 early.
Snively skated with Conor Sheary and Nicklas Backstrom on the night, as Laviolette continues to put him in the top six with skilled players. And Snively continues to respond.
Schultz out with injury
The Capitals lost defenseman Justin Schultz to an upper-body injury, per the team.
His last shift of the night ended with 4:32 left in the first period, as the Capitals had to play about 45 minutes of game time with just five defensemen.
Schultz has played in 45 games this year, primarily with Trevor van Riemsdyk as his defensive partner, on a blue line that’s been relatively stable (at least compared to the forwards and goaltending) up to this point of the season.
The team will have one game against the Flyers on Thursday before a week off. If Schultz’s injury is anything beyond day-to-day, that week should help.