January 25, 2022

Washington Capitals Game 29 Recap: Capitals smash Predators 5-2, Schmidt gets first NHL goal

Nate Schmidt with the puck commemorating his first career NHL goal. (Photo courtesy Katie Brown/District Sports Page)

Nate Schmidt with the puck commemorating his first career NHL goal. (Photo courtesy of Katie Brown/District Sports Page)

Saturday night, the 18th all-time meeting between the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators, proved to contain a few milestones for the home team, who won by a score of 5-2.

Troy Brouwer, scoreless in his last 11 games, with only 5 points in the entire month of November, broke through and scored early in the first period to give the Caps a 1-0 lead.

Brouwer had no idea he’d scored the goal, even after the goal horn sounded, until his linemate, Eric Fehr, skated over to tell him while he was still whacking away, erroneously thinking the puck hadn’t gone in yet.

“I think I had at least one more whack, maybe two more whacks, after the horn went off. In situations like that, you have to do whatever it takes,” said Brouwer. “Our line had talked about getting more pucks and bodies to the net and I thought maybe it rattled in after the first shot. I didn’t know I touched it, as you could tell by my reaction.”

After a Rich Clune high-sticking penalty gave the Capitals a power play, Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 22nd goal of the season, a set play off a faceoff win by Nicklas Backstrom. The Capitals have scored 15 power play goals in their last 17 games. Ovechkin’s power play goal was the 136th of his career. He needs two more to pass Peter Bondra and move into first place on the Capitals’ all-time power play goals list.

Next up was Karl Alzner, who scored his fifth career NHL goal in the first period, a slapshot assisted by Mike Green. It was his first-ever goal at Verizon Center in 148 regular season games as a Capital.

“When we played the Islanders last week I think [Alzner] might have had 7 shots that night – 4 legitimate chances,” said Adam Oates, who was complimentary of Alzner’s performance. “It doesn’t always turn into your turn, but the more we work on it, when it is his turn, we need a goal from him or a good play and he got one tonight. Every little touch he makes benefits us big picture.”

After a second period with no goals or penalties, the action picked back up in the third period, with rookie defenseman Nate Schmidt scoring his first career NHL goal. Twenty-three seconds later, the Predators got one back –the 13th time this season the Caps have given up a goal shortly after scoring one.

By the time Eric Fehr scored his fourth goal of the season, the Caps were well on their way to victory. Fehr and his linemates, Mikhail Grabovski and Troy Brouwer had a pretty good night, combining for five points (2 goals, 3 assists), between them. Grabovski , who has four points in his last five games, had two assists, and Fehr, who has five points in his last five games, notched a goal and an assist.

It was Grabovski’s fifth multi-point game of the season, and Fehr’s third multi-point game of the season. “We talked before the game [and said] just get pucks to the net and crash and get some rebounds and try to get a greasy one,” said Fehr. “It worked out.”

About Katie Brown

Katie Brown is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Capitals. She resides in Arlington, VA, and developed a love for the sport of hockey as a youngster while watching her brothers play. Katie works at a nonprofit organization by day but the rest of her time is devoted to watching, writing, and talking about hockey and perfecting her mean one-timer. She is co-host of Girls Just Wanna Have Puck podcast. You can follow Katie on Twitter @katie_brown47.

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