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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, October 17th (All times eastern)

Nashville Predators (2-4-0) at Washington Capitals (3-2-2), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - NHL superstar Alex Ovechkin will lead the Washington Capitals against the Nashville Predators tonight at the Verizon Center.

Ovechkin already has seven goals and seven assists through seven games this season and scored twice in Washington's most recent victory, a 4-1 triumph versus San Jose on Thursday. Ovechkin lit the lamp twice in a 28-second span and both Alexander Semin and Matt Bradley notched a goal for the Capitals, who had dropped their previous four games.

"We played well today and were able to scratch out a win," said Ovechkin. "We did a good job all around and found a way to win the game. We knew it was going to be a hard game but we had a good second period and I'm happy to get two points."

Caps goaltender Jose Theodore started in net, but left after the end of the first period with an injury. Semyon Varlamov finished the game between the pipes and got the win as he stopped all 15 shots he faced. Theodore stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced and is expected to miss tonight's game with back spasms. Center Boyd Gordon (back) is questionable tonight.

Meanwhile, Nashville will open a five-game road trip tonight and has lost four in a row since a two-game winning streak to start the new season.

In Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, Martin Erat scored the lone goal and goaltender Pekka Rinne turned aside 27-of-30 shots in defeat.

"They blocked a lot of shots, but we missed a lot. We hit posts; we had a three-on-one and missed the net; we had a back-door play that had an open net and Cal O'Reilly missed it. We had chances," Nashville head coach Barry Trotz said. "A lot of the point shots never got through. They give up the fewest shots in the league right now, and they have the most shots for. This is not a bad hockey team that we played -- this is one of the top hockey teams in the league."

Predators forward J.P. Dumont was back on the ice for Nashville for the first time since the season opener at Dallas. Dumont had been sidelined with concussion symptoms and was taken off injured reserve.

The Capitals won both meetings with Nashville a year ago and are unbeaten in the past three matchups between the teams. Nashville has lost four of its last five trips to Washington.

10/17 10:48:49 ET


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