December 12, 2019

Washington Capitals Game 52 Recap: Caps survive lazy affair, dump Preds on the road

BURAKOVSKY EXTENDS POINTS STREAK TO EIGHT GAMES, KUZNETSOV EARNS 100TH POINT

The Washington Capitals have been playing slow first periods of late. The trend continued Tuesday night in Nashville against the Predators, but instead of the Caps finding that second gear, the pace remained sluggish throughout the affair.

Regardless, the Caps found enough offense in spurts, and Braden Holtby was his usual rock for the team, and the Caps came away with a 5-3 win over the Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

The Caps got on the board first, in the first period. Tom Wilson picked off an errant pass near the Predators blue line, carried back into the zone along the right wing, and found Jason Chimera crashing the net. The pass was threaded through the slot to Chimera’s tape, and the speedy, veteran winger tipped it past Pekka Rinne for the 1-0 lead and his 14th goal of the season.

The Caps added to the lead early in the second, despite being outplayed. Again, a Nashville turnover allowed Marcus Johansson, back after missing a few games, in alone on the right wing. Borrowing from the script for the first goal, Wilson this time crashed the net, and Johansson’s saucer pass found the big winger alone in the slot. Wilson’s blast beat Rinne for his fifth of the year.

The Caps then took back-to-back too-many-men penalties, and the Caps ran off 3:50 of the penalty time. But Filip Forsberg got loose on the left wing and beat John Carlson to a shooting lane. His wicked wrister went over Holtby’s left shoulder and under the crossbar to halve the Caps lead at 2-1 after two.

With the Caps and Preds still mired in some lazy play on both sides, the third period had the feel of “next goal wins.” That next goal went to the Caps. A dominant shift by the second line finally paid off, as Andre Burakovsky dug it out to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who found Justin Williams at the top of the crease. Williams batted it past Renne for his 17th of the season and a 3-1 lead.

The goal gave Burakovsky an eight-game scoring streak and Kuznetsov his 100th career point.

Three minutes later the Caps again had a good forecheck, and a bouncing puck made it’s way to Johansson, who was able to get enough on it to get it past a sprawling Renne and make it 4-1.

The Predators, though, made things interest, picking up a deflection from Roman Josi and Forsberg’s second of the night to make it a one-goal game with eight minutes to go.

But Nashville took a tripping call late, and Alex Ovechkin — who earned the penalty call with hustle on defense — found the empty net to make it a 5-3 final.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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