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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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Capitals Draft Tracker

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Draft Tracker

The 2018 NHL Draft starts on Friday with the first round and runs through Saturday. Here's a running tracker of the Caps' picks.

1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds

The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.

Read more on him here.

2nd round, 46th overall (from Florida, via New Jersey): D Martin Fehervary, Allsvenskan (Sweden), 6'2", 194 pounds

A physical style defenseman who is very strong in his own end, but does not have much offensive upside. Sort of a throwback style of play which makes him a surprise pick this high.

2nd round, 47th overall (From Colorado): F Kody Clark, OHL, 6'1", 179 pounds

Kody Clark boasts an NHL pedigree as the son of Wendel Clark, a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who recorded 330 goals and 564 career points in 763 NHL games.

3rd round, 93rd overall: F Riley Sutter, WHL, 6'3", 203 pounds

Riley Sutter also boasts a strong NHL pedigree as the son of Run Sutter and nephew of Darryl Sutter.

Riley is a power forward who played alongside Caps prospect Garrett Pilon on the Everett Silvertips in the WHL and recorded 53 points in 68 games last season.

4th round, 124th overall: G Mitchell Gibson, NAHL, 6'1", 187 pounds

A Harvard commit, Gibson posted a 1.59 GAA and .935 save percentage in the NAHL last season.

6th round, 161st overall (from Vancouver): D Alex Kannok-Leipert, WHL, 5'11", 194 pouds

The Caps certainly saw something they liked in Kannok-Leipert as they traded up from 186 to get him. That pick, along with a sixth-round pick in 2019, went to Vancouver.

7th round, 217th overall: 

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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