NASHVILLE - Marcus Johansson returned to the lineup and had one goal and two assists and the Washington Capitals defeated the Nashville Predators 5-3 at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.
Johansson missed four games with an upper-body injury.
"I think it took a little bit to get in the game, but just fun and exciting to be back," Johansson said. "You miss hanging around with the boys. You miss playing games so it was a lot of fun."
Washington (39-9-4) has won four consecutive games, improving to 27-1-0 after scoring the first goal.
Predators forward Colin Wilson returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with a lower-body injury. Goalie Pekka Rinne struggled in net again for Nashville (25-21-8) and stopped 17 of 21 shot attempts.
Jason Chimera gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 12:02 of the first period on a redirection from next to the Predators net. Forward Tom Wilson forced a turnover by Predators defenseman Shea Weber and made the pass to Chimera, who redirected the puck past Rinne for his 14th of the season.
Video: WSH@NSH: Chimera's tip-in shot opens scoring in 1st
Wilson made it 2-0 at 4:55 of the second period on a one-timer from the left faceoff circle. Wilson received the pass from Johansson on the rush and one-timed it past Rinne for his fifth of the season.
"[Johansson] is my best friend right now, he gave me an unbelievable pass," Wilson said. "It's nice to have Marcus back. We've got so many good players in this locker room. Whoever you're playing with, you're trying to make the best of each situation. [Johansson], [Chimera] and I have kind of a weird, good chemistry going. We don't know what to kind of credit it to, but that's an all-time pass that [Johansson] gives me there, and I was lucky enough to put it in."
Predators forward Filip Forsberg scored his 16th of the season on the power play to make it 2-1 at 14:42. Forsberg entered the zone and took a wrist shot that beat Capitals goalie Braden Holtby over the shoulder.
Justin Williams scored his 17th of the season to give Washington a 3-1 lead at 5:00 of the third period. Forward Evgeny Kuznetsov passed the puck to Williams, who was able to corral it and slide it under Rinne.
Johansson extended the Capitals lead to 4-1 at 8:03, which proved to be the game-winner, on a wrist shot from the slot. Defenseman Karl Alzner took the original shot, Williams got the rebound to the slot and Johansson put it into a wide open net for his 14th of the season.
Video: WSH@NSH: Ovechkin scores PPG on empty net late
"We played alright for the most part, but I think in the second period we were a little sloppy and we gave up a little too many chances," Johansson said. "I think early in the first period too when [Holtby] was standing on his head, it's fun to watch him back there. We found a way to get it done and we did what we had to do, and that's one of the strengths of this team."
Predators defenseman Roman Josi scored to make it 4-2 at 9:49. Josi took a shot from the point that went off of Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen and past Holtby for his 11th of the season.
Forsberg scored to make it 4-3 at 12:00. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm took the original shot from the point and Forsberg redirected it past Holtby for his second goal of the game.
"We made a couple of bad mistakes," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "You can't leave opportunities that are coming across the crease and uncovered men and just do a better job in that area. There wasn't a lot of them, but the ones that did happen we needed to do a better job."
Video: WSH@NSH: Forsberg scores second goal of game
Alexander Ovechkin scored an empty-net goal with 59.9 seconds left to make it 5-3. Ovechkin has 31 goals this season and is one behind Patrick Kane for the NHL scoring lead.
Capitals coach Barry Trotz got his first win at Bridgestone Arena as an opposing coach and admitted it was a special moment.
"Yeah it is [special], I'm not going to lie," Trotz said. "There's a lot of games that I've been in this building and we've won games and the crowd is great and all that.
"Last year was very uncomfortable coming back. I didn't want to say it then, but I can say it now that time has passed. And we didn't get the win and then didn't get the win in Washington against Nashville. Just getting a win back in this building is good."
Video: Capitals withstand late rally, sink Predators