Smith scored the lone goal of the shootout and goaltender Carter
Hutton and the Nashville Predators stymied the Washington Capitals
for a 4-3 victory on Sunday night.
As the teams prepared for the shootout after overtime, the ice
resurfacing machine broke down and started dumping piles of ice over
the rink. After the five-minute delay, Smith slapped a wrist shot
past goalie Jaroslav Halak and Hutton made three stops, including
two kick saves.
The Predators won a shootout for just the second time in 10 tries
"Delay, delay, delay, drop snow all over the place," Nashville coach
Barry Trotz joked about the broken Zamboni. "It was good. We needed
that. I thought we deserved the game. Five-on-five, I thought we
were much better than they were tonight. I thought we managed the
pucks well. We turned that into a three-quarter-ice game on them."
The Capitals dropped their third straight and second in as many days
after a 4-2 loss to Boston in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. The
Capitals also missed an opportunity to move into a tie for the
eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With 81
points, Washington trails Columbus by a point and pushes ahead of
Toronto by a point.
"There aren't enough games left to be too positive about only
getting one point," Capitals defenseman John Carlson said. "Yeah, it
is a point, but it's only going to make our road harder. I thought
we were just a little bit lackadaisical here and there throughout
Center Nicklas Backstrom scored the game-tying goal and had two
assists for the Capitals. But, with the third and final attempt in
the shootout, he was not able to sneak the puck past Hutton, who
made 26 saves on 29 shots.
The Predators took a 3-2 lead on defenseman Shea Weber's go-ahead
goal 8:23 into the third period. On the rush, center Matt Cullen
passed to center Mike Fisher, who dropped the puck to a trailing
Weber. The Predators captain scored his team-leading 21st goal by
firing a slap shot past Halak.
Backstrom answered with a snap shot at the 12:20 mark for the
Capitals' second power-play goal of the game.
Right wing Troy Brouwer scored twice for the Capitals and has eight
points in the past seven games.
Nashville right wing Patric Hornqvist scored the 100th and 101st
goals of his career in the first period. After Brouwer scored to
give the Capitals a 1-0 lead, Hornqvist crashed the net after a
Weber slap shot and wristed a shot over the right leg of Halak.
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"Sometimes you just have to give their team credit," Washington
coach Adam Oates said. "We scored first and they came back with a
faceoff goal and then an unlucky play for a breakaway."
With 90 seconds remaining in the first period, Hornqvist struck
again for a 2-1 lead on a wrist shot. The score came after Capitals
winger Alex Ovechkin had a breakaway and closed in on the net, only
to see Weber make a sliding stop and poke check the puck away.
"The guy has 48 goals so you know he is a capable of scoring and he
has done it for years," Weber said. "He is a proven scorer and one
of the best players in the world and lot of fun when you get that
chance... Luckily I got a piece of it because he had me down and out
Nashville rebounded from a 7-3 loss to Dallas but, with six games
left, still has a long way to go in chasing down a playoff spot.
With six games left, the Predators are in 11th place in the Western
Conference and seven points behind Phoenix for the eighth spot.
NOTES: Predators D Seth Jones missed his fourth straight game with
an upper-body injury and continued to be listed as day-to-day. ...
Nashville C Paul Gaustad sat out for the sixth straight game with an
upper-body injury. ... Predators LW Nick Spaling did not dress
(upper- and lower-body injury). ... Washington C Mikhail Grabovski
returned to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 27. He missed
22 of the last 23 games with a left ankle sprain. ... D Jack Hillen
did not join the Capitals in Nashville after suffering an upper-body
injury in a collision with Washington LW Alex Ovechkin on Tuesday
against Los Angeles. ... Washington visited Nashville for the first
time since Nov. 15, 2011. ... The Capitals had won seven of the last
eight meetings between the teams, including a 5-2 victory earlier
this season. ... Washington C Patrick Wey did not return to the game
after taking a hit to the head during a fight with Nashville LW Rich
Clune midway through the first period.
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