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Preseason Game Blog: Sept. 25 Preds vs. Washington Capitals

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
The Preds wrap up their three game in three night stretch today when they host the Washington Capitals at Bridgestone Arena (7 pm CT start). Follow all the action here on our in-game blog.

10:26 pm CT
After the game tonight the Preds made a second round of roster moves, reducing the Traning Camp roster to 38 players.

Tonight's game was more about individual player impressions than about team results (Monday night might be the last game the coaches will evaluate that way -- the final two preseason games will be very much focused on setting the lineup for Season Opener and getting the NHL squad ready for the regular season)

Individually, Matt Halishcuk had another strong game. That’s two nights in a row he’s played well. Last night he was in more of a checking/energy role skating with Jerred Smithson and Jordin Tootoo, while tonight he was in more of an offensive role playing most of the game on the wing with Colin Wilson and Steve Sullivan. The Wilson-Sullivan-Halischuk line was pretty good for most of the game; Wilson was strong on the puck and Sullivan & Halischuk used their speed to create chances off the wing.

Similarly, defenseman Aaron Johnson was steady. His play in both games of the back-to-back assignment (last night and tonight) likely moved him into the heart of the discussion for the final d-man roster spots.

Shea Weber had a solid preseason debut -- +1 plus/minus rating in a game-high 24:59 of ice time. The type of performance you would expect from Weber, but good to see none-the-less.

Matthew Lombardi had an up-and-down game. He read plays well and used his speed to get offensive chances, but looked a little rusty on the finishing end. He had several quality chances in the first five minutes of the game and probably finished the night with over a half-dozen dangerous scoring opportunities. Good to see him create that many chances and for a first game that’s important – later in the preseason slate would like to see him start to bury some of those. Lombardi was very good in the defensive zone, also, peeling back deep to help out his defensemen on several occasions.

--Jay Levin,

9:26 pm CT
Washington holds off the final flurry to win 2-1. Preds out shot the Caps 25-23 on the game, but Washington used two special teams scores (a power-play goal and a goal with a delayed penalty) to edge Nashville.

Preds will return to action on Monday night when they host the Atlanta Thrashers at Bridgestone Arena.

9:25 pm CT
40.7 seconds left. Nashville's going to the power-play; skating six-on-four. Should be exciting down the stretch.

9:24 pm CT
Strong move by Dumont to create a scoring chance. His line finished off a good shift, but still 2-1 Washington. Preds call their timeout with 1:06 left in regulation. Faceoff deep in the Washington zone, so Nashville going with the empty net.

9:20 pm CT
4:07 remaining in regulation, still 2-1 Caps. Even chances the last five minutes of play.

9:07 pm CT
9:46 left in the third. Belak and McNeill square off. A long, long, long battle. Both guys traded some good punches, but edge to Belak.

9:02 pm CT
Washington takes a 2-1 lead 6:47 into the third period. A six-on-five goal with a delayed penalty on the Preds. Beagle snapped a shot inside the stick-side post from the center of the ice, just below the faceoff dots. Not much Lindback could do on that one.

8:59 pm CT
Good counter-attack by Halischuk and Sullivan. Those two are flying tonight -- especially in transition. They have five of Nashville's 20 shots on goal so far in the game. Colin Wilson's been strong on the puck centering those two.

8:56 pm CT
Lombardi with another good scoring chance early in the third period. He's created a half-dozen or so good opportunities tonight. Oh, and lines to open the third period are back to way they were at the start of the game.

8:35 pm CT
Second period comes to a close; 1-1 tie. Shots favor Nashville 18-17 through two periods of play.

Looked like Nashville made a slight switch in forward lines at the end of the period -- Dumont and Halischuk switched lines (Sullivan-C. Wilson-Dumont / Halischuk-Goc-Spaling). Probably just a chance to see how different combos mesh; Halischuk has been good tonight (and was effective last night, too). Halischuk and Spaling were OHL teammates in Kitchener prior to turning pro, so a chance for them to re-unite at the NHL level.

8:30 pm CT
Hornqvist gives the Preds another power-play; 3:48 left in the second period. Lombardi flew down the left wing slot and fed Hornqvist driving to the net. Washington was forced to hook Hornqvist to prevent a partial breakaway down low.

8:17 pm CT
And the first Preds fight of the preseason -- Kelsey Wilson squaring off with Steve Pinizzotto. Pinizotto got the early shots, but Wilson rallied in the middle and later parts of the bout and earned the take-down. Both guys given 5:00 fighting majors.

8:14 pm CT
Slight delay with 10:37 left in the middle period. Both teams are making a goalie change. Anders Lindback entering for the Preds; Dany Sabourin going in for the Caps. Rinne finished the night with seven saves -- the only goal against was a power-play score. Neuvirth exits with 13 saves for the game.

8:09 pm CT
7:25 into the second period and Matt Halischuk ties the game at 1-1. Steve Sullivan and Colin Wilson on the assists. That line's been playing well over the last 10 minutes or so of game action -- going back to their final shifts of the first period.

Sullivan won a one-on-one battle with Nicklas Backstrom behind the Washington net and kicked the puck along the boards to Wilson. Wilson whipped a behind the back pass to Halischuck cutting to the top of the goal crease for the score.

8:06 pm CT
Weber wearing the "C" on his jersey for the first time tonight. Sullivan and Dumont are wearing the "A" tonight.

8:02 pm CT
Tough-guys Wade Belak and Kelsey Wilson creating a scoring chance; Belak made a strong move from behind the net to take the puck out front. Wilson snapped a good shot on the rebound. Still 1-0 5:00 gone in the second period.

7:57 pm CT
Second period just underway and the Preds will get an early power-play chance. Poti called for high sticking.

7:40 pm CT
End of the first period. 1-0 Caps lead. Preds hold a 9-7 edge in shots on goal -- Nashville finished with the final seven shots on goal in the period. Washington had the better of the play in the first five/six minutes of the period; Nashville held the edge over the final six/seven minutes of play.

Kostitsyn-Lombardi-Hornqvist were pretty good for the Preds in the first; Sullivan-C. Wilson-Halischuk were impactful late in the period, especially over their final three shifts.

7:35 pm CT
Real strong shift by C. Wilson-Sullivan-Halischuk. Created 20-30 seconds of dangerous activity in the Washington end, culminating in a Nashville power-play opportunity.

7:30 pm CT
5:17 remaining in the first. 1-0 Washington. The Preds have been close on a number of chances, but had passes just miss (bounce over sticks, deflected at the last second, etc.). Matt Lombardi has been snake bitten on three chances trying to receive passes in prime scoring chances. That line (Lombardi-Hornqvist-Kostitsyn) has worked well to get dangerous opportunities.

7:27 pm CT
Back to five-on-five. A couple of good rushes on the PP, but unable to convert. Still 1-0 Washington with around seven minutes remaining in the frame.

7:24 pm CT
Preds back on the PP. Knuble called for slashing. Nashville is keeping its same lines together on the man-advantage as the players are skating on during even strength.

7:21 pm CT
Still 1-0 Washington with 11:30 left in the first period.

Lines for the Preds so far tonight are Goc centering Dumont and Spaling; C. Wilson centering Halischuk and Sullivan; Lombardi centering Hornqvist and Kostitsyn; Geoffrion centering Belak and K. Wilson.

Defensive pairings have opened with Weber-Parent, Palin-Sulzer, and Johnson-Ellis.

7:15 pm CT
Now it's Nashville's turn on the power-play. Poti called for interference.

7:12 pm CT
Washington scores with seven seconds left in the PP. Palin and Kostitsyn lost track of Mike Green on the backdoor play. No chance for Rinne on the shot. Geoffrion and Sullivan had a good shift up front early in the PK. Green from Backstrom and Bouchard on the scoring.

7:12 pm CT
Weber called from cross checking 1:28 into the game. Preds PK will get an early chance here.

7:11 pm CT
Lombardi with a chance on his first shift as a Pred. Good feed from behind the net. Patric Hornqvist with a nice rush down the right wing to start the play.

7:06 pm CT
Nashville's starting lineup announced for tonight's game: defensemen Brett Palin and Alex Sulzer; forwards Nick Spaling, J-P Dumont, and Marcel Goc; goaltender Pekka Rinne.

6:55 pm CT
Washington's starting lineup announced for tonight's game: defensemen Tom Poti and John Erskine; forwards Keith Aucoin, Matt Hendricks, and Jay Beagle; goaltender Michal Neurvith

11:17 am CT
Morning skate wrapped up. Looks like Lindback and Rinne will be the two goaltenders for the Preds tonight. Wade Belak, Matthew Lombardi, Brett Palin, Steve Sullivan, and Shea Weber appear set to make their preseason debuts tonight.

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