NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ The Nashville Predators are focused on the playoffs
again after holding a players-only meeting earlier this week.
Scott Hartnell had two goals and an assist, and the Predators snapped a
three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on
``A lot of guys were still on their break,'' Hartnell said. ``We needed a
strong effort after Wednesday night's game.''
The Predators lost 5-2 in Chicago on Wednesday, and coach Barry Trotz called
it one of the worst efforts of the season.
``I never doubt our guys care a lot about what they're doing,'' Trotz said.
``I just said, 'Let's not play uptight, let's play our game and the rest will
take care of itself.'''
Vladimir Orszagh, Wyatt Smith and Marek Zidlicky added goals for the
Predators, and Kimmo Timonen and Martin Erat each had two assists.
Zidlicky had a power-play goal in the second period when he put a rebound of
his own shot around Maxime Ouellet's left pad. Hartnell added a goal with 10.9
seconds left in the period on a three-on-two break, giving Nashville a
commanding 4-1 lead.
``I think when you're playing well and you're confident and you've got some
wins under your belt those things won't break a hockey team's spirit,''
Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. ``When you're sitting where we are in the
standings, these are the things sometimes that are hard to overcome.''
Nashville could have easily had another goal earlier in the second, but
Ouellet made the best of his 31 saves by diving across the crease to stop Scott
``I tried to focus on the first save and was trying to recover to make the
second save if I had to, but they were so quick to jump on those rebounds,''
Nashville came out determined in the first period, scoring four minutes in
when Hartnell poked Andreas Johansson's shot through the legs of Ouellet on its
only man advantage in the period.
With 13:09 left in the first, the Predators scored again on Orszagh's
rebound of a shot by Erat. His assist gave him a career high for points in a
season with 34. He added another assist in the second, and Smith scored his
goal early in the third.
Washington had plenty of chances, but went 0-for-6 on the power play.
``I thought they did a real excellent job _ both the power play and the
penalty kill,'' Trotz said. ``They were 0-for-6 and we were 2-for-5, and if you
can be that every night, it's a big advantage.''
The Capitals' Mike Grier scored midway through the first period, and Peter
Bondra finished the scoring with his 20th goal late in the third. Robert Lang
had an assist, giving him 40 to go with his 26 goals this season.
Neither team started its top goaltender. Nashville's Tomas Vokoun has given
up three or more goals in six of his last seven starts. That's given more
minutes to backup Chris Mason, who stopped 17 shots in his ninth appearance in
the last 18 games.
Ouellet, a rookie, was in net for the sixth time this season as Olaf