Ovechkin scores twice in Capitals’ 4-1 win over Predators
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Alex Ovechkin scored a pair of goals, including his 30th of the season, to lead the Washington Capitals in their 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
Joe Snively and Nick Jensen also scored, and Ilya Samsonov made 33 saves for Washington, which has won two of their last three.
Washington’s victory gave coach Peter Laviolette his 700th career win. He is third among active coaches in wins, trailing only New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz (894) and Lindy Ruff (772) of the New Jersey Devils.
“The fact that it’s Nashville and this is the last stop that we had,” said Laviolette, who coached the Predators for several seasons. “For me, the win was really good for our team. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster.”
Michael McCarron had the lone goal for the struggling Predators in their third straight loss. Juuse Saros made 24 saves.
“I liked (our) game tonight. I thought we had good energy,” Nashville coach John Hynes said. “I thought we were on our toes, the things we talked about. It’s icing a game that we feel gives us the best chance to win night in and night out, and play consistently.”
Snively scored the game’s first goal at 4:17 of the opening period.
Ovechkin’s power-play goal capped a wild sequence early in the third, where the teams combined for three goals in 1:50.
McCarron tied the game briefly at 2:43 of the third. Samsonov had stopped Roman Josi’s shot from the left side, but the rebound popped out and hit McCarron’s helmet. The puck dropped to the ice, and bounced in for his second goal of the season.
“I think we played really good today,” Samsonov said. “That’s a team win for sure. Important game for the team, for (Laviolette) too.”
Washington regained the lead at 3:27 on Jensen’s goal before Ovechkin quickly followed up at 4:33 with a one-timer from above the left faceoff dot on the power play.
“If we play like that, we move the puck quick, we control the puck, it doesn’t matter me or somebody else is going to score,” Ovechkin said.
Ovechkin’s second of the game came late in the third — an empty-netter after Saros had been pulled.
30 FOR OVI
Ovechkin has scored 30 goals in a season 16 times in his career. He now trails former Capital Mike Gartner by one for most 30-goal seasons in NHL history. Ovechkin is the only player in NHL history to have 16 30-goal seasons with the same team.
“I just try to do my job.,” Ovechkin said about his milestone.
Laviolette coached his first game in Nashville on Thursday since his tenure as the Predators’ coach ended Jan. 5, 2020.
He was just the second head coach in Predators history, named to the spot on May 6, 2014, following the long tenure of Trotz, who coached the team from its inception.
Laviolette spent five and a half seasons with Nashville, compiling a regular-season record of 248-143-60 and a 32-29 postseason record. He was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award in 2015.
Nashville won the Presidents’ Trophy as the team with the league’s best record for the 2017-18 season. Laviolette coached the Predators to the franchise’s only Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2017, falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
Washington defenseman Justin Schultz did not return for the second period, and the team announced that he was sidelined with an upper-body injury. Schultz played seven shifts in the first period, seeing 4:50 of ice time.
Following the game, Laviolette said Schultz was day-to-day.
Predators: Visit Carolina on Friday.
Capitals: Visit Philadelphia on Thursday.
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