for this game

Ovechkin's three-point night leads Capitals past Predators

Mar 19, 2008 - 4:29 AM
By Jim Diamond PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- In a matchup of two teams fighting for their playoff lives, only the Washington Capitals looked worthy of a postseason berth.

Superstar Alex Ovechkin assisted on a pair of goals early and scored one of his own late to help the Capitals to a 4-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

Cristobal Huet stopped 24 shots while Alexander Semin, rookie Nicklas Backstrom and Matt Bradley scored first-period goals for the Capitals (36-30-8), who improved to 8-0-3 in their last 11 games and remained two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers (36-28-10) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"I think we played an unbelievable first period," Ovechkin said. "In the second and third, we stopped doing what we were doing."

"They came at us pretty good, they were in a desperate situation," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We got a little lucky in the first period with some of the goals, but we've been on the other end of that as well."

J.P. Dumont and captain Jason Arnott scored for the Predators (36-30-8), who remained four points back of the final postseason berth in the West.

"We let them have the first period," Arnott said. "We came out flat, and it cost us the game."

Ovechkin, who leads the league with 58 goals, showed his playmaking skills early as the Capitals scored three times in the first period. The All-Star helped set up goals by Semin at 6:49 and Backstrom at 9:59, with his first assist giving him 100 points on the season.

Bradley made it 3-0 with 5:20 remaining in the first, beating goaltender Dan Ellis with a wrist shot from the slot for his sixth goal of the season.

That spelled the end of the night for Ellis, who made just five saves before being replaced by Chris Mason.

"We lost the game in the first, and I wish I had an answer for you, but it was just an unacceptable start and execution," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "I thought that in the first period, we just stood around and watched and did not participate."

"When our team needs saves, I've got to come up with them, and I didn't tonight," Ellis said. "It put us behind three goals early, and that is a hard deficit to come back from."

Nashville tried to rally as Dumont tallied at 4:09 of the second and Arnott drew his team within one when he beat Huet between the pads from the left faceoff circle with 7:23 to go in the third for his 26th goal.

But Huet, who was acquired from Montreal at the trade deadline on February 26, made several key saves late to preserve the lead.

"We were tired in the second, but I think that we did a good job in the third," Huet said. "I let in a couple of goals that I would like to have back that let them back in the game."

Ovechkin then added an empty-netter with four seconds left, bringing him within two goals of becoming the first player to score 60 since Mario Lemieux (69) and Jaromir Jagr (62) in 1995-96.

"The most important thing is not to beat some records," Ovechkin said. "Right now, it is all about winning the games, and it is all about getting two points."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 3 0 1 4
    NASHVILLE 0 1 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER SEMIN 22 (ALEX OVECHKIN, MIKE GREEN)
    6:49
    WAS - NICKLAS BACKSTROM 12 (ALEX OVECHKIN) 9:59
    WAS - MATT BRADLEY 6 (BROOKS LAICH) 14:40
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT 28 (SHEA WEBER, DAN HAMH

    Mar 18 10:34 PM
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    Pizznerkins Added 5 roots

    Capitals 4, Predators 2  3rd - 0:04Mar 18 10:33 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 4
    NASHVILLE 2
    3RD PRD: WAS - (EN) ALEX OVECHKIN 58 (UNASSISTED) 19:56

    Capitals 4, Predators 2  3rd - 0:04Mar 18 10:32 PM
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    Capitals 4, Predators 2  3rd - 0:04Mar 18 10:32 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Capitals 3, Predators 2  3rd - 2:22Mar 18 10:24 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 3
    NASHVILLE 2
    3RD PRD: NAS - JASON ARNOTT 26 (JAN HLAVAC, MARTIN ERAT) 12:37

    Capitals 3, Predators 2  3rd - 7:23Mar 18 10:18 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 3 0 3
    NASHVILLE 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER SEMIN 22 (ALEX OVECHKIN, MIKE GREEN)
    6:49
    WAS - NICKLAS BACKSTROM 12 (ALEX OVECHKIN) 9:59
    WAS - MATT BRADLEY 6 (BROOKS LAICH) 14:40
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT 28 (SHEA WE

    Mar 18 9:38 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 3
    NASHVILLE 1
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT 28 (SHEA WEBER, DAN HAMHUIS)
    4:09

    Capitals 3, Predators 1  2nd - 15:51Mar 18 9:11 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 3 3
    NASHVILLE 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER SEMIN 22 (ALEX OVECHKIN, MIKE GREEN)
    6:49
    WAS - NICKLAS BACKSTROM 12 (ALEX OVECHKIN) 9:59
    WAS - MATT BRADLEY 6 (BROOKS LAICH) 14:40
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --

    Mar 18 8:47 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 3
    NASHVILLE 0
    1ST PRD: WAS - MATT BRADLEY 6 (BROOKS LAICH) 14:40

    Capitals 3, Predators 0  1st - 5:20Mar 18 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 2
    NASHVILLE 0
    1ST PRD: WAS - NICKLAS BACKSTROM 12 (ALEX OVECHKIN) 9:59

    Capitals 2, Predators 0  1st - 10:01Mar 18 8:28 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 1
    NASHVILLE 0
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER SEMIN 22 (ALEX OVECHKIN, MIKE GREEN)
    6:49

    Capitals 1, Predators 0  1st - 13:11Mar 18 8:20 PM
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    Capitals vs. PredatorsMar 18 1:21 PM
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