The Washington Capitals left Eeli Tolvanen wide open in the right circle in overtime, and he didn't miss his chance.
Tolvanen one-timed the game-winner into the twine, as the Nashville Predators defeated the Capitals by a 3-2 final in OT on Sunday afternoon at the 2019 NHL Prospects Showcase. The victory moves the Preds to a perfect 2-0-0 on the weekend, with Tolvanen tallying twice thus far.
Rem Pitlick got his second of the tournament on Sunday, and Egor Afanasyev also converted for Nashville to help them rally to win.
Special teams had to be sharp for the Preds, and the penalty kill was perfect for the host club, including the negation of a five-minute opportunity for the Capitals to start the third. Combine that with a power-play strike from Afanasyev, and the Predators got the job done on both fronts.
"We weren't ready in the first five [minutes], but after that, I think we raised our [level] and got our game going again," Tolvanen said. "It was a real physical game today. Everybody was banging hits, and you have to take hits, too. That was a good effort for us."
Washington held a 1-0 lead after one period of play, but it only took 35 seconds into the middle frame for Pitlick to score his second goal in as many days by finishing off an odd-man rush with defenseman Jeremy Davies.
Video: Tolvanen scores again to complete Preds rally in OT
As the horn sounded to conclude the second stanza, Predators defenseman Josh Healey was assessed a five-minute major for elbowing and a game misconduct, forcing his teammates to kill five minutes of Washington power-play time to start the third, which they did to perfection.
"We had a meeting in the room right before the [third] period [to talk about how we were going to kill the major]," Predators Prospects Captain Alexandre Carrier said. "We were on the same page, we battled together, and we found a way. We got the big goal on the power play right after, so it felt good."
Just moments after the penalty expired, Brian Pinho put the Capitals up 2-1, but that was the last time they beat Preds netminder Connor Ingram on the day, who finished with 24 stops on the day.
Afanasyev converted on the power play with less than seven minutes to play in regulation, and Tolvanen took a feed from Thomas Novak at 1:19 of the extra session and wired it home to send his teammates pouring off the bench.
It was an exclamation point on an impressive two days for Tolvanen, and those watching from above - and on the ice - have taken notice.
"He's worked really hard this summer, and I can see just looking at him, his body is way better than it was," Carrier said of Tolvanen. "He's showing what he can do in the NHL. I think he could be a really good player, and I think he showed it again today."
Thanks to Sunday's result, the Predators will have a chance for a clean sweep of the tournament on Tuesday afternoon when they face the Carolina Hurricanes (at 1 p.m. CT; watch a live video stream on NashvillePredators.com).
Tuesday's game, combined with the two the Preds have already won, will combine to give the prospects a wealth of experience heading into main training camp, something Tolvanen believes is the ideal scenario.
"Everybody wants to win, and I think it's just beautiful going into training camp," Tolvanen said. "Today was a really hard game with a lot of hitting, and I think that's good for us for all the battles we're going to have to do in training camp with the bigger guys. They're faster and bigger, so I think that's good all the young guys are here getting the experience. These games have really good speed, and I feel like it's going to help for everybody."
Video: Tolvanen, Carrier discuss Preds' 3-2 overtime win
Predators forward Anthony Richard and defenseman Dante Fabbro were given the day off on Sunday. Forward Lukas Craggs and defenseman Frederic Allard took their respective spots in the Nashville lineup. Allard served as an assistant captain in Richard's absence.
After a break on Monday, the Predators will conclude their time at the 2019 NHL Prospects Showcase on Tuesday afternoon when they face the Carolina Hurricanes at 1 p.m. CT at Ford Ice Center Antioch.