Filip Forsberg scored twice, but the Nashville Predators comeback fell short, as the Washington Capitals topped the Preds by a 5-3 final on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville tallied two in the third period to cut the deficit, but Washington ultimately staved off the final pressure to secure the victory.
“You lose the hockey game, so that’s what sticks with you most,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “The mistakes that you made, things you could have done better, execution of different areas of the game where you know you could have made a difference and done something different; in saying that, there were a lot of good things that we did early on. I thought the first period was our best period. It was tough to walk away not having a lead in that period.”
Washington took a 1-0 lead in the first period thanks to a Jason Chimera goal, followed by a tally from Tom Wilson in the middle frame.
Forsberg cut the Capitals lead to one when he sniped a shot from the left circle and past Braden Holtby for his 16th of the season and his second in as many games. Craig Smith picked up the primary helper on the play, extending his assist streak against Washington to three games.
The Preds continued to outshoot the Caps through the first two periods, but goals from Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson gave the Caps a 4-1 advantage eight minutes into the third.
Midway through the final frame, Roman Josi’s point shot at 9:49 hit Matt Niskanen in front of the net and trickled past Holtby to bring the Preds back to within two. Then, Forsberg recorded his second of the night against the team that drafted him, when he deflected a Mattias Ekholm shot out of midair in front of the net to make it 4-3.
Nashville fed off a re-energized home crowd and continued to press, but Alex Ovechkin iced the contest with an empty netter, ultimately giving Washington their League-leading 39th win of the season.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times, and against a team like that, it’s going to end up in the back of your net,” Captain Shea Weber said. “That’s the main reason we went down 4-1. But, showing the resiliency we did shows we have a lot of character in here.”
The Preds head to the Sunshine State in the coming days, but coming close to besting the top club in the NHL won’t be easily forgotten, as the Preds search for points to rise in the standings.
“Leaving that game against them, I know they’re the top team in the League right now, but it’s still frustrating for us,” Laviolette said. “We need to win games, whether it’s the top team or somebody in the division or somebody that’s not in the playoffs right now. We have to collect points.”
Gif of the Game:
Filip Forsberg releases an unreal wrister that beats Braden Holtby over the shoulder.
Peter Laviolette on Filip Forsberg’s play as of late:
“His first goal was a heck of a goal. There were some good opportunities to score out there tonight and Filip cashed in on his, but we had others as well. Those chances, it’s different and more difficult to play coming from behind. If we can cash in on some of those chances early, it gives a different flow to the game. The bench runs differently, the confidence runs differently. That’s been a little bit of a problem. We haven’t been able to get that lead and then continue on from there, but he’s been able to put up some points lately.”
Preds forward Colin Wilson returned to the Nashville lineup after missing 12 games with a lower-body injury. Wilson posted two shots in 13:51 of ice time on Tuesday.
Forward Calle Jarnkrok recorded an assist on Forsberg’s second goal, giving him a three-game point streak (2g-1a).
Forward Austin Watson and defenseman Petter Granberg were healthy scratches for Nashville.
The Predators face the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers back-to-back this Friday and Saturday, as the team hosts its annual Fathers Trip in the Sunshine State. Nashville then returns home next Monday to host the Dallas Stars.
Filip Forsberg scores twice as the Preds fall to the Caps.
Infographic: Beaten by the Incumbent