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Nashville
Predators
40-34-8
Washington
Capitals
50-24-8
SO
26 SOG
32 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTsoT
NSH ()
WSH ()
game recap

Capitals 4, Predators 3, SO

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:24 AM

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -The Washington Capitals won't pretend they're as good without Alex Ovechkin as they are with him.

That doesn't mean the Capitals must have their star performer to win, and they proved that Tuesday night by beating the Nashville Predators 4-3.

Michael Nylander scored the pivotal goal in a shootout, and Washington generated enough firepower to overcome the absence of Ovechkin.

Ovechkin, the NHL leading scorer and most valuable player last season, left for Russia on Monday to be with his ailing grandfather. The slick-shooting left wing had played in 203 consecutive games and 253 of 254 in his career.

Playing without him was strange, but the Capitals were up to the challenge.

"Obviously, we miss Ovie. Our hearts are with him, and what he's dealing with," said Brooks Laich, who filled the void on Ovechkin's line. "But we want to be known as the Washington Capitals - a good hockey team, not just a team with one or two good players."

Six players had points for the Capitals, including Alexander Semin, who had a goal and an assist before scoring in the shootout. Semin came in tied for the NHL scoring lead with 14 points; he has eight goals in nine games.

"Obviously (Ovechkin) is the star of our team, but Alex Semin is, I think, the best player in the league right now," Laich said. "Everything he touches turns to gold and goes in the net."

Semin put Washington up 3-2 with 18:02 left in regulation, scoring a power-play goal off a pass from Nicklas Backstrom. But Jason Arnott tied it with 6:36 remaining, redirecting a blast by Ryan Suter past Jose Theodore.

The Predators outshot the Capitals 15-3 in the third period.

In the shootout, Semin scored as Washington's second shooter before Ville Koistinen tied it on Nashville's third try at Theodore. Nylander then beat Dan Ellis, and Theodore denied Martin Erat.

"They have a lot of talent," Ellis said of the Capitals. "Even missing their star player, they played a heck of a game."

Although Ovechkin was limited to two goals and three assists in Washington's first eight games, he is a key player on the power play and always receives special attention from the opposition. So, to win without him was no small feat.

"I think we have great leaders and great character," said David Steckel, who contributed a short-handed goal. "Anytime you're missing probably the best player in the NHL, you're going to take a hit. But as much as Alex is the focus of this team, we wanted to make sure we could prepare the same way and come out with the same result."

Arnott scored two goals and Koistinen had one for the Predators, who never led but made a game of it after being outshot 19-4 in the first period.

"Obviously we want to get the win," coach Barry Trotz said. "But we'll take the point after the start we had."

The Capitals went up 1-0 when Viktor Kozlov - a member of Ovechkin's usual line - batted in his own rebound in front of the net at 12:13 of the opening period.

The next two goals came with Nashville on the power play, but the Capitals got the second one. After Koistinen connected on a slap shot from above the right circle, Steckel scored on a pass from Semin as Nashville changes lines.

"Semin made a great pass. I didn't have to move my stick," Steckel said.

Arnott tied it on a backhander in the second period, giving the Predators two goals on seven shots.

Notes: Semin's first seven goals this season were at even strength. ... Nashville is 1-3-1 on the road and has been outscored 22-15. ... The Predators have scored at least three goals in eight straight games, but have yielded at least three in the past six.

scoring summary
1st Period
12:13
WSH
Viktor Kozlov (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Mike Green (4)
1 - 0 WSH
13:59
NSH
PPG - Ville Koistinen (1) Slapshot - ASST: J-P Dumont (8), Martin Erat (4)
1 - 1 Tie
15:38
WSH
SHG - David Steckel (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Alexander Semin (8)
2 - 1 WSH
2nd Period
11:21
NSH
Jason Arnott (4) Backhand shot - ASST: J-P Dumont (9), Patric Hornqvist (3)
2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
01:58
WSH
PPG - Alexander Semin (8) Slapshot - ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (4), Sergei Fedorov (5)
3 - 2 WSH
13:24
NSH
Jason Arnott (5) Tip-in - ASST: Ryan Suter (5), J-P Dumont (10)
3 - 3 Tie
OT Period
NONE
Shootout
RNDWSHNSHTOTAL
1V. Kozlov
R. Bonk
0 - 0
2A. Semin
J. Dumont
1 - 0
3N. Backstrom
V. Koistinen
1 - 1
4M. Nylander
M. Erat
2 - 1
penalty summary
1st Period
05:08
NSH
Scott Nichol  Slashing against  Tyler Sloan
08:05
NSH
Shea Weber  Cross checking against  Chris Clark
12:48
WSH
Nicklas Backstrom  Holding against  Joel Ward
14:23
WSH
Michael Nylander  Hooking against  Joel Ward
2nd Period
00:26
WSH
Chris Clark  Elbowing against  Dan Hamhuis
02:19
NSH
Dan Hamhuis  Tripping against  Tomas Fleischmann
05:58
NSH
Greg De Vries  Holding against  Brooks Laich
17:15
WSH
Viktor Kozlov  Too many men/ice - bench
3rd Period
01:50
NSH
Joel Ward  Boarding against  Tyler Sloan
04:37
WSH
Brooks Laich  Hooking against  J-P Dumont
08:38
WSH
Michael Nylander  Hooking against  Patric Hornqvist
15:51
WSH
Shaone Morrisonn  Interference against  Jordin Tootoo
OT Period
NONE
goalie stats
Dan Ellis
SA: 32TOI: 64:52
Saves: 29EV: 24 - 25
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 6
SV%: .906SH: 0 - 1
Jose Theodore
SA: 26TOI: 64:51
Saves: 23EV: 10 - 12
PIM: 0PP: 12 - 13
SV%: .885SH: 1 - 1