The Nashville Predators made mistakes against the Washington Capitals and those mistakes wound up in the back of their net in a 5-3 loss at Bridgestone Arena.
Shea Weber turned over a puck on what should have been an easy clear from the defensive zone, then compounded that mistake by letting Jason Chimera beat him to the front of the net for the Caps first goal in the contest.
The Predators second mistake was another turnover that resulted in a 2 on 1 break and Tom Wilson buried the shot to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead in the second period.
The Predators drew within 1 as Filip Forsberg recorded his 16th goal on the power play with a sweet shot to the top corner to beat Braden Holtby.
The third period saw the Caps storm the front of the Predators net and tally twice as Pekka Rinne and the defense in front of him was overwhelmed. Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson were both at the crease and banged pucks past Rinne to make it 4-1.
Looking for all intents and purposes to be over, the Predators cut the Caps lead to 4-3 on a goal by Roman Josi and a re-direct by Forsberg for his second goal of the night and his 17th of the season.
Alexander Ovechkin sealed the win for the Caps with an empty netter to make the final margin 5-3.
- The Predators could have rolled over when it was 4-1, but they showed some grit and character to cut the lead to 1 late in the game. That is a positive. The negative for the Predators is that they are now 2-16-3 when they trail after 2 periods. This team is going to have to find a way to win these kinds of games when they are trailing going into the final 20 minutes. This record is telling- they ability to fight back is just not where it should be for this team and this can- and probably will cost them them when it comes to securing a playoff spot.
- Forsberg continues to play a strong game. The Caps forecheck was aggressive all night, and Forsberg was able to carry the puck and break the pressure. I really like the way he works in the offensive zone and he has shown that he is not afraid to go into high traffic areas. His second goal was a result of his work in the low slot, and the Predators are going to have to have that kind of play from him and others to be successful. He has 5 points in his last 2 games (3G-2A).
- The Predators went 1-3 on this 4 game home stand after the All Star break. This team is going to have to get dominant play on home ice to get into the playoffs. Right now, they are not.
- The Predators are 6-15-4 when they allow the first goal.
- A nice celebration before the game to honor Mike Ribeiro for his 1000th NHL game.
- Mattias Ekholm picked up 2 assists tonight and had a solid overall game. His pairing with Ryan Ellis has played some good hockey and are getting some second D pairing minutes on the power play.
- Calle Jarnkrok has points in his last 3 games (2G-1A) with his assist tonight.
- The Predators power play was 1-5. The unit has been fairly ineffective in recent games, and it is imperative that they start to produce at a higher level. Too often, there is not a lot of movement when they get in the offensive zone. They did a good job of possessing the puck on the power play but didn't generate many quality chances.
- Braden Holtby was outstanding. He made some quality saves and showed why he is going to win the Vezina this year.
This was a game where the Predators needed to play flawless hockey. They did not and it cost them. The Predators are a team that has to battle every night for points, and they battles tonight. But when you play the best team in the League, battling is not enough. Solid hockey, sound hockey is what it takes to win these kinds of games.
This was a measuring stick game. The Predators have shown they can compete but not win against the best.
There is a short time left in the regular season to elevate their game.
My three stars:
1. Marcus Johansson
2. Filip Forsberg
3. Braden Holtby