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
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
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