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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, October 16th (All times eastern)

Washington Capitals (3-1-0) at Nashville Predators (3-0-0), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators will try to remain unbeaten on the young season when they host Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals tonight at Bridgestone Arena.

At 3-0-0 the Predators are off to the second-best start in club history. Nashville still has a long way to go to claim the best start, which came with eight straight wins to open the 2005-06 campaign.

Nashville's power-play efficiency has fueled the club's early success this year. The Preds posted a 4-3 decision over visiting St. Louis in their last game and Nashville scored twice on three chances with the man advantage, improving to 4-for-13 (31 percent) on the power play this season.

Steve Sullivan netted two goals, including one on the power play, to help the Predators beat the Blues in the opener of a four-game homestand. Patric Hornqvist and Marcel Goc also tallied for Nashville.

"We're not going to get too full of ourselves," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "When we work and play the way we want to play, we're going to have success. When you stop working and think you're better than you are, you're going to lose some games."

Nashville rookie goaltender Anders Lindback, making his second consecutive start in place of starter Pekka Rinne, stopped 32 shots. Rinne has been bothered by a lower-body injury recently, but has returned to practice and could get the start tonight.

The Capitals enter this evening's test riding a three-game winning streak after beginning 2010-11 with a road loss to Atlanta. Washington responded from that setback with a perfect three-game homestand, which ended with Wednesday's close victory over the New York Islanders. Nicklas Backstrom's power-play goal with 3:39 left in the game lifted Washington to the come-from-behind win over the Islanders.

Alex Ovechkin had a goal and assisted on the game-winner while Michal Neuvirth turned away 23 shots to earn the win for the Capitals.

"He's gotten better in every game and tonight was his best game," said head coach Bruce Boudreau about Neuvirth.

Neuvirth has started all four games for Washington this year while presumptive No. 1 netminder Semyon Varlamov has been sidelined with a groin injury. Varlamov is expected to be in uniform tonight, but Boudreau may still choose to start Neuvirth, who is sporting an excellent .924 save percentage in the early going.

In other Capitals injury news, forwards Matt Bradley (lower body) and Marcus Johansson (foot) and defenseman Tom Poti (lower body) are questionable for tonight. Meanwhile, defenseman Mike Green is expected to miss this evening's contest with a stinger suffered against the Isles.

The Caps won the lone meeting with Nashville last year, posting a shootout win in D.C. That victory marked Washington's fourth straight overall in the series and the Capitals have also taken the last two encounters in Music City.

10/16 10:40:36 ET


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