Predators down Capitals to end six-game slide

Sports

Frederick Gaudreau scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period as the visiting Nashville Predators posted the game’s final five goals and defeated the Washington Capitals 6-3 in a Monday matinee.

Dec 31, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (44) shots the puck as Nashville Predators center Frederick Gaudreau (89) defends during the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville halted a six-game losing streak. Washington saw a four-game winning streak end while losing for just the second time in last 11 contests.

The Capitals jumped out to a pair of two-goal leads in this game — 2-0 and 3-1 — but the Predators rallied and scored a fifth consecutive victory over Washington.

Ryan Johansen finished with a goal and two assists for Nashville. Goalie Pekka Rinne finished with 22 saves and improved to 5-1-0 in his career versus the Capitals.

The Predators turned things around during the second period with a three-goal burst in less than five minutes.

Washington took a 2-0 lead in the first period when Tom Wilson and Jakub Vrana scored. Rocco Grimaldi cut the lead in half later in the period.

Chandler Stephenson gave the Capitals a 3-1 lead thanks to some help from goalie Braden Holtby. He began the play with a long outlet pass to Devante Smith-Pelly up the right wing, and that gave Washington a two-on-none breakaway.

Smith-Pelly waited and passed the puck to Stephenson on his left, and he easily slid the puck into the net at 8:22 of the second period.

Everything began to change right after that when Miikka Salomaki scored at 9:57. He made a quick pass to Nick Bonino by the right post and scored when his teammate crossed it right back.

Then, Johansen tied it just 2:02 later before Gaudreau’s goal put the Predators in front with 5:30 left in the second period. Grimaldi sent a shot on goal that bounced away from Holtby and back into the high slot, and Gaudreau fired it past the goalie for a 4-3 lead.

Ryan Ellis and Viktor Arvidsson added insurance goals in the third period.

Washington veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik returned after missing 27 games with a knee injury. He last played on Oct. 27.

—Field Level Media

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