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Game Day: Capitals vs. Preds

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(38-9-4) Washington Capitals vs. Nashville Predators (25-20-8)
  7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #WASvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
Tickets | Nissan Tuesday


The Nashville Predators conclude their four-game home stand tonight, when they host the League-leading Washington Capitals at Bridgestone Arena. It's the first of two meetings between the two clubs this season; Nashville got the better of their former Head Coach Barry Trotz and his Caps in both outings last season.

The Preds are coming off a 6-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night, including two goals from Viktor Arvidsson and three points (1g-2a) from Filip Forsberg. The Capitals topped the Flyers 3-2 on Sunday afternoon and are winners of three straight.

“They’re a really good team,” Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of the Capitals. “We’re going to have to be sharp. They have good balance on their lines, good goaltending and they can skate. They bring a lot to the table, and we’ll have to be really sharp.”

Forward Mike Ribeiro, who skated for the Capitals in 2012-13, played in his 1,000th career NHL game on Saturday and became the 22nd active NHLer to play in 1,000 games, as well as the 300th all-time to reach the mark. Ribeiro was Montreal's second-round selection (45th overall) in the 1998 NHL Draft and ranks sixth among members of that class in points (751), behind Vincent Lecavalier (416g-523a-939pts), Brad Richards (293g-626a-919pts), Pavel Datsyuk (304g-591a-895pts), Alex Tanguay (278g-569a-847pts) and Scott Gomez (181g-574a-755pts).

Forsberg tallied his 100th career NHL point on Saturday night and then added an additional two points in the contest. Forsberg was drafted 11th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft and was acquired by the Predators from Washington on April 3, 2013, in exchange for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. Forsberg became the third member of the 2012 Draft class to reach 100 career points, joining Alex Galchenyuk and Nail Yakupov.

The Preds have allowed 32 first-period goals this season, which is tied for fifth fewest in the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Only the Anaheim Ducks (25), Florida Panthers (27), Los Angeles Kings (28), and Carolina Hurricanes (31) have allowed fewer in the opening frame.

Defenseman Roman Josi leads the Predators in scoring with 37 points, followed by Captain Shea Weber with 35. Ribeiro and Forsberg are both tied for third with 33 points apiece and James Neal has 32. Neal leads the club with 19 goals, followed by Forsberg and Weber with 15 and 14, respectively. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is 20-17-7 on the season.

Forward Mike Fisher is on a three-game point streak versus the Capitals (1g-2a), Ryan Johansen has a point in five of his last six games against the Caps (1g-4a) and Neal has 14 points in 14 career games against Washington (9g-5a-14pts).

Evgeny Kuznetsov leads the Capitals with 53 points, including 15 goals. Nicklas Backstrom has 48 points on the season, followed by Alex Ovechkin wtih 44. Ovechkin leads the club with 30 goals, followed by Backstrom with 17. T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams have 16 goals apiece. Goaltender Braden Holtby is 33-5-3 in goal for Washington this season.

Nashville has won their last three games against Washington dating back to 2013-14, and have a 9-7-5 record all-time against the Capitals, including a 6-2-3 mark at Bridgestone Arena. The two clubs will meet again in the nation's capital on March 18.


Predators Game Day Video:


What to Watch for: Preds Web Team Breakdown


Projected Lineups:

Nashville Predators:

The Predators did not hold a morning skate on Tuesday; the below lineup is based on yesterday's practice lines. During yesterday's practice, Cody Bass and Miikka Salomaki rotated on the fourth line. Colin Wilson (IR; lower-body) is still currently on Injured Reserve, but said yesterday "the plan" is for him to play tonight.

Forwards
Calle Jarnkrok Ryan Johansen James Neal
Filip Forsberg Mike Ribeiro Viktor Arvidsson
Colin Wilson Mike Fisher Craig Smith
Austin Watson Paul Gaustad Miikka Salomaki
Defense
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis
Barret Jackman Anthony BItetto

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Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the expected starter in net with Carter Hutton serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Petter Granberg, (F) Cody Bass, (F) Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), (F) Eric Nystrom (IR; lower-body)


Washington Capitals:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin Nicklas Backstrom TJ Oshie
Andre Burakovsky Evgeny Kuznetsov Justin Williams
Jason Chimera Marcus Johansson Tom Wilson
Brooks Laich Mike Richards Michael Latta
Defense
Nate Schmidt John Carlsson
Karl Alzner Matt Niskanen
Dmitry Orlov Taylor Chorney

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Goaltenders: Braden Holtby is the expected starter in net with Philipp Grubauer serving as the backup.

Extra: (F) Stanislav Galiev, (F) Jay Beagle, (D) Brooks Orpik

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