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Predators 5, Capitals 2 @NHLdotcom

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Nashville Predators are in a good groove and they have their potent power play to thank.

Defenseman Marek Zidlicky had two power-play goals in the first period, and Scott Sullivan added one in the third to lift the Predators to a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.

Sullivan also scored in the second period, assisted by Zidlicky, and was stopped on a penalty shot as the Predators (17-4-3) won their fourth straight game.

Nashville has scored at least one power-play goal in 11 straight games.

``Special teams are going to be the difference in hockey games in this new NHL, and for us the power play has been good,'' Sullivan said. ``If you look at the score sheet, that was the difference. Our power play was able to be successful.''

Washington (9-15-2), which has lost six of seven, scored on one of 10 power-play chances. They entered the game ranked 29th in power plays.

``When you have a 12.3-percent power play, there's going to be some times out there where it just looks disjointed and dysfunctional and that's just where we're at,'' Washington coach Glen Hanlon said.

The Predators had two power plays in the first period and struck quickly on each. Zidlicky scored 35 seconds into the first and 33 seconds into the second, with Paul Kariya and Kimmo Timonen assisting on both. Kariya and Timonen are tied for the team lead in assists with 15.

The Predators have 39 points, one behind Western Conference leader Detroit. Nashville has won six of seven and 10 of 12.

``We moved the puck well, and our power play was good,'' Kariya said. ``The most we play together, the better off we're going to be.''

Nashville's Chris Mason made 30 saves. He has three wins and a shootout loss in four starts this season.

Scott Hartnell had an empty-net goal for Nashville with less than a second left.

Washington rookie Alex Ovechkin notched the Capitals' first goal on a power play in the second period. Ben Clymer added a goal in the third.

Olie Kolzig made 29 saves for the Capitals, including a stop of Sullivan's penalty shot 10 minutes into the second period.

Notes: It was the only meeting of the season between the teams. ... Timonen has 12 assists in 11 games. ... Ovechkin has 17 goals, 11 more than his closest teammate. ... The attendance of 11,088 was the smallest for a Capitals home game since Oct. 16.

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