Roman Josi scored twice as the Nashville Predators topped the Washington Capitals, 5-2, on Saturday evening at Bridgestone Arena. It's win No. 30 on the season for the Preds, giving them sole possession of third in the Central Division and 69 points overall.
Nashville came through with flying colors against the club with the best record in the NHL, keeping up with and then overtaking the Capitals in all facets.
"It's a big thing for us, to see how good we can play," Preds goaltender Juuse Saros said. "I think it's a really solid game from us, we didn't give them a lot and I think the whole game was good for us."
Tom Wilson gave Washington a 1-0 lead early in the first, but as they've done throughout the season, Nashville owned the second period. Goals from Josi, Filip Forsberg and Mike Fisher gave Nashville three in the column before the frame was out and a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Josi gave the Preds some insurance with his second of the game - a power-play marker - at 12:07 of the third, and after Washington got their second, Viktor Arvidsson iced it with an empty-netter and Saros made 24 saves to give Nashville the win over the NHL's top team.
"It's an important time right now," Josi said. "Everybody's stepping up. I thought we played really well the last couple games. Even the Calgary game, I thought we had a pretty good couple bounces come our way, but we have to keep going."
Second Stanza Spectacular:
Video: WSH@NSH: Fisher caps off passing play for PPG
No one in the Preds locker room can quite put their finger on what it is about the second period that leads to their best hockey most nights, but they kept up the trend on Saturday, scoring three goals in the middle frame, the only three Nashville needed.
The Predators have now outscored their opponents by 31 in second periods, 78-47, the highest in the NHL. Their 78 second-period goals are the most in the League.
"I have no idea, honestly," Josi said of the second-period play. "It's been good to us. Even today we weren't that happy with our start. With our first period, we thought we could've played a little better. It kind of gives us a wakeup call in the first intermission, but the second period is definitely good to us this year."
Video: WSH@NSH: Forsberg unleashes big slapper from circle
For the first time in three games, Filip Forsberg failed to record a hat trick. The Preds will live with that though, because the Swede continued to torch the team that drafted him.
Forsberg tallied a goal and added two assists on Saturday, giving him nine points - including five goals - in five career games against the Capitals. The tally in the second period also raised his goal total to seven in his past three outings.
"I think we played great," Forsberg said. "I think the first period we [weren't doing well] but after that I think we were playing really well. The second period led the way for sure."
On the Offensive:
Video: WSH@NSH: Josi blasts PPG to net second of the game
Filip Forsberg may have stolen the offensive star recently, but it was Roman Josi who produced a multi-goal effort on Saturday, scoring Nashville's first and fourth tallies in the 5-2 win. Ever since returning from injury, Josi has been outstanding, recording 12 points (6g-6a) and four multi-point efforts in his past nine games.
But that's what has come to be expected from the stud blueliner, who also led the Preds in shots for and blocked shots on Saturday.
"Roman's always at his best when he's attacking the game, and it was the next game [after returning from injury] where he was jumping right back into it, so it didn't take him long at all," Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's been able to get going with his skating and offense. To me, he's a guy that can push the pace from the backend, breakouts to the offense and brings a good dimension to our attack that makes it more difficult to defend."
Video: Josi, Forsberg lift Preds to 5-2 win against Caps
With his goal on Saturday, Preds Captain Mike Fisher passed Jason Arnott for 10th on the Preds all-time points list and tied Patric Hornqvist for fifth on all-time goals list.
The Preds have won four of their previous five home games against the Caps, and have earned at least one point in six of their last seven home games against Washington.
The Predators conclude their four-game home stand Sunday afternoon when they host the Edmonton Oilers at 4 p.m. CT.