Nate Schmidt gives Caps 4-1 lead over Predators
Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators Saturday night at Verizon Center:
How it happened: The Caps received first-period goals from Troy Brouwer, Alex Ovechkin and Karl Alzner and third-period goals from Nate Schmidt and Eric Fehr to roll to the win.
What it means: The Caps [15-12-2, 32 points] have won three of their last four and are now in second place in the Metropolitan Division, one point ahead of the idle Carolina Hurricanes.
Check of the game: It was a doozy. Troy Brouwer put a clean but menacing shoulder into Patric Hornqvist just as he was attempting a shot with 2:21 remaining in the game, separating him from the puck, not to mention reality for a few seconds.
Brouwer power: Brouwer’s goal was his first since Nov. 9, snapping an 11-game drought. It came off an Eric Fehr shot from the halfwall. Brouwer was tangling with defenseman Ryan Ellis in the slot when his blind backhander found its way into the net for his sixth goal of the season.
Rock on, Ovi: Alex Ovechkin’s power-play goal was his league-high 22nd of the season, moving him two goals ahead of St. Louis’ Alex Steen. Ovechkin also leads the NHL with nine power-play goals.
Who was that? Karl Alzner’s first-period goal was his first of the season and sixth of his career. More amazingly, it was his goal at Verizon Center – ever. All five of his previous goals, and his only playoff goal, had come on the road. Alzner achieved the feat in his 148th home game.
Big hug: Caps rookie Nate Schmidt has trouble wiping a smile off his face on a bad day. He was literally lifted off the ice by John Carlson after he scored his first NHL goal 3:29 into the third period to give the Caps a 4-1 lead.
Holtby better: Braden Holtby [13-9-1] allowed another long-range wrist shot to get past him when Roman Josi scored his first goal of the season with a snap shot past Holtby’s catching glove with 22.5 seconds left in the first period. Holtby settled in the rest of the way and allowed a third-period goal by Eric Nystrom on another well-placed wrister..
What’s next: The Caps will visit the New York Rangers Sunday night at Madison Square Garden [7 p.m., CSN]. The Rangers began a nine-game homestand Saturday night against the Devils. After that, the Caps will get the day off on Monday and face the Tampa Bay Lightning at home on Tuesday night.