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game recap

Predators end road losing streak at 10, defeat Capitals

Earn first win away from home since Nov. 10; Ovechkin remains at 29 goals

by Harvey Valentine / Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- The Nashville Predators scored five unanswered goals to rally for a 6-3 win against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Monday, ending their season-high six-game losing streak.

Ryan Johansen had a goal and two assists, and Viktor Arvidsson and Rocco Grimaldi each had a goal and an assist for Nashville (23-15-2), which was 0-5-1 in its past six games and ended a 10-game losing streak on the road (0-8-2). The Predators, who began the season with eight straight road wins, hadn't won away from home since Nov. 10 at the Dallas Stars.

"It was a great win by our team, especially going down 3-1," Grimaldi said. "We could have hung our heads and thought, 'Oh it's one of those games again, we just can't get out of the slump,' but the boys stuck together. I think every line chipped in and we had a huge win against the Stanley Cup champs."


[WATCH: All Predators vs. Capitals highlights]


Miikka Salomaki, Frederick Gaudreau and Ryan Ellis scored, and Pekka Rinne made 22 saves for Nashville. Mattias Ekholm had two assists.

Video: NSH@WSH: Grimaldi chips home goal with mom in stands

Michal Kempny, Jakub Vrana, and Chandler Stephenson scored for Washington (24-11-3), which had won four straight. Braden Holtby allowed six goals on 34 shots.

"Their urgency level, [the] desperation from them was at a high tonight," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said of the Predators. "We knew it was going to be. They're too good of a team to be losing six in a row so we knew they would come hard."

Nashville scored three times in the second period after falling behind 3-1. Salomaki ended a 26-game goal drought when he scored on a rebound to make it 3-2 at 9:57.

Johansen knocked in a rebound at 11:59 to make it 3-3, and Gaudreau gave the Predators a 4-3 lead at 14:30.

"You're preaching something and you're looking for some results to build some confidence off what you're asking the players to do," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "Tonight, I think we got that with the pucks at the net. There were some rebounds. We were able to get second opportunities off of it so that was a good thing."

Ellis made it 5-3 at 10:35 of the third period on shot from the left circle, and Arvidsson's power play goal with 2:00 remaining made it 6-3.

Video: NSH@WSH: Ellis buries wrister from the circle

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin did not score for a sixth straight game. He leads the NHL with 29 goals and is trying to join Mike Gartner as the only players to begin their NHL career with 14 straight 30-goal seasons.

"We get the lead, 3-1, and I think we give them a little room to breathe, don't put pressure, and I don't think we played our game at all today," Ovechkin said.

Kempny scored on a wrist shot from the point at 4:33 of the first period to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead.

Vrana made it 2-0 at 8:45 converting on a pass from John Carlson.  

Nashville got within 2-1 23 seconds later when Grimaldi deflected a centering attempt from Zac Rinaldo at 9:08.

"They had all the momentum at that time. Their building was pumped up," Johansen said. "So, to get that goal I thought was huge. It gave us some life and it just kept on shift after shift."

Holtby's long pass during a Predators line change led to a 2-on-0 break and Stephenson scored his third goal in five games on a pass from Devante Smith-Pelly at 8:22 of the second period for a 3-1 lead.

Video: NSH@WSH: Stephenson capitalizes on Preds' line change


They said it

"We didn't really like 2018 that much. Today we just wanted to focus on finishing on a good note, leaving it behind us and focus on 2019. That's what we're going to do." -- Predators forward Ryan Johansen


"They were pushing really hard, pucks leaked through a little bit. It's a tough one today but we're going to forget this quick and [are] already focusing on the next game." -- Capitals forward Jakub Vrana


Need to know

The Predators have won five straight against the Capitals. Their last loss was March 18, 2016 (4-1) … Johansen has two goals and six assists in his past seven games. … Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik played 17:16 in his return after missing 27 games because of a right-knee injury. … Kuznetsov had an assist and has 299 NHL points (87 goals, 212 assists). ... Ovechkin's NHL career-long goal drought is 10 games (Feb. 22-March 12, 2017).


What's next

Predators: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SNE, SNW, SNP, FS-TN, NBCSP, NHL.TV)

Capitals: At the St. Louis Blues on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; SN360, SNE, FS-MW, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)

Video: Preds score five straight goals to down Caps, 6-3

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