Ekholm, Fiala lead Predators to 6-3 win over Capitals
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The trade that sent Filip Forsberg to Nashville has not worked out well for the Washington Capitals.
Mattias Ekholm and Kevin Fiala each had a goal and an assist to lead Forsberg and the streaking Predators past the Capitals 6-3 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory.
Craig Smith, Nick Bonino, Forsberg and Miikka Salomaki also scored for Nashville. Pekka Rinne made 26 saves, and 12 players had at least one point for the Predators.
T.J. Oshie scored twice and Alex Chiasson also had a goal for Washington, which had won two consecutive games.
Smith scored the first goal at 11:48 of the opening period. On a delayed penalty to the Capitals, he redirected Fiala’s shot past goalie Braden Holtby for his sixth of the season.
The goal came on Nashville’s 12th shot of the period. Washington had not registered a shot on Rinne to that point. The Predators ended the first with an 18-3 shots advantage.
“We were wearing their defense down and they had to chase,” Ekholm said. “As long as we were in the offensive zone, we were shooting a lot of pucks and they had to retreat all the time. It was making their team tired and wearing them down.”
Bonino made it 2-0 at 17:43. Standing just to Holtby’s right side, Bonino tipped Roman Josi’s wrister from the top of the left circle for his second goal of the season.
Bonino missed Nashville’s previous 11 games with a lower-body injury.
“They jumped on us early,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said. “We didn’t show up in the first. We showed up in the second, and in the second we needed a couple of saves and we didn’t get them. It put us really out of reach there.”
Trotz was the inaugural coach of the Predators when they entered the NHL in 1998 and lasted with them through the conclusion of the 2013-14 season.
The teams combined for seven second-period goals, including five in the span of 4:52. Washington briefly tied the game early in the second after Oshie and Chiasson scored 1:59 apart.
“I thought we were really good in the first period,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “They obviously turned it on and got going in the second period. The second period became a lot more competitive.”
Nashville regained the lead for good at 6:28 on Forsberg’s goal, just 17 seconds after Chiasson tied it.
In the left faceoff circle, Forsberg stole the puck from John Carlson and sent a wrist shot toward the Washington net. The puck glanced off the skate of Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik and by Holtby.
It was Forsberg’s 100th NHL goal. Nashville acquired Forsberg in a 2013 trade-deadline deal that was a bust for the Capitals, who netted Martin Erat and Michael Latta in return.
Asked if scoring against the team that dealt him away was special, Forsberg played it cool.
“I think it’s always going to be a little bit special, obviously,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s two points. It’s just like any other game, I guess. It was fun.”
Forsberg has 10 points in seven career games against the Capitals.
Holtby made 19 saves and was replaced by Philipp Grubauer at the start of the third period. Grubauer turned aside all six shots he faced.
NOTES: Washington D Matt Niskanen returned to the lineup after missing 13 games with a hand injury. ... The Capitals gave up a power-play goal after going four games without allowing one. ... Nashville is 8-0-2 when leading after two periods. ... Salomaki has points in four consecutive games, a career high.
Capitals: At the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.
Predators: At the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
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