Nashville at Washington

Minus Ovechkin, Caps nip Preds in shootout behind Nylander


WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals won't pretend they're as good without Alex Ovechkin as they are with him.

That doesn't mean the Capitals must have their star performer to win, and they proved that Tuesday night by beating the Nashville Predators 4-3.

Michael Nylander scored the pivotal goal in a shootout, and Washington generated enough firepower to overcome the Ovechkin's absence.

Ovechkin, the NHL's leading scorer and most valuable player last season, left for Russia on Monday to be with his ailing grandfather. The slick-shooting left wing had played in 203 consecutive games and 253 of 254 in his career.

Playing without him was strange, but the Capitals were up to the challenge.

"Obviously, we miss Ovie. Our hearts are with him, and what he's dealing with," said Brooks Laich, who filled the void on Ovechkin's line. "But we want to be known as the Washington Capitals -- a good hockey team, not just a team with one or two good players."

Six players had points for the Capitals, including Alexander Semin, who had a goal and an assist before scoring in the shootout. Semin came in tied for the NHL scoring lead with 14 points; he has eight goals in nine games.

"Obviously (Ovechkin) is the star of our team, but Alex Semin is, I think, the best player in the league right now," Laich said. "Everything he touches turns to gold and goes in the net."

Semin put Washington up 3-2 with 18:02 left in regulation, scoring a power-play goal off a pass from Nicklas Backstrom. But Jason Arnott tied it with 6:36 remaining, redirecting a blast by Ryan Suter past Jose Theodore.

The Predators outshot the Capitals 15-3 in the third period.

In the shootout, Semin scored as Washington's second shooter before Ville Koistinen tied it on Nashville's third try at Theodore. Nylander then beat Dan Ellis, and Theodore denied Martin Erat.

"They have a lot of talent," Ellis said of the Capitals. "Even missing their star player, they played a heck of a game."

Although Ovechkin was limited to two goals and three assists in Washington's first eight games, he is a key player on the power play and always receives special attention from the opposition. So, to win without him was no small feat.

"I think we have great leaders and great character," said David Steckel, who contributed a short-handed goal. "Anytime you're missing probably the best player in the NHL, you're going to take a hit. But as much as Alex is the focus of this team, we wanted to make sure we could prepare the same way and come out with the same result."

Arnott scored two goals and Koistinen had one for the Predators, who never led but made a game of it after being outshot 19-4 in the first period.

"Obviously we want to get the win," coach Barry Trotz said. "But we'll take the point after the start we had."

The Capitals went up 1-0 when Viktor Kozlov -- a member of Ovechkin's usual line -- batted in his own rebound in front of the net at 12:13 of the opening period.

The next two goals came with Nashville on the power play, but the Capitals got the second one. After Koistinen connected on a slap shot from above the right circle, Steckel scored on a pass from Semin as Nashville changes lines.

"Semin made a great pass. I didn't have to move my stick," Steckel said.

Arnott tied it on a backhander in the second period, giving the Predators two goals on seven shots.


  • Semin's first seven goals this season were at even strength.
  • Nashville is 1-3-1 on the road and has been outscored 22-15.
  • The Predators have scored at least three goals in eight consecutive games, but have yielded at least three in the past six.
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Nobody is more popular among his teammates than Michael Nylander, who nets the winner. (Getty Images)
Nobody is more popular among his teammates than Michael Nylander, who nets the winner. (Getty Images)
Related Links
Nashville (4-4-1)11100 (1)3
Washington  (5-3-1) «20101 (2)4
Three Stars
A. Semin

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
J. Dumont

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 3
D. Steckel

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
12:13Viktor Kozlov (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Green
13:59Power Play - Ville Koistinen (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Dumont, Erat
15:38Short - Dave Steckel (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Semin
11:21Jason Arnott (4), Backhand Shot. Assist: Dumont, Hornqvist
01:58Power Play - Alexander Semin (8), Slap Shot. Assist: Backstrom, Fedorov
13:24Jason Arnott (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Suter, Dumont
 Alexander Semin (1), GOAL
 Ville Koistinen (1), GOAL
 Michael Nylander (1), GOAL
Penalty Summary
05:08Nichol, 2 min, Slashing
08:05Weber, 2 min, Cross-Checking
12:48Backstrom, 2 min, Holding
14:23Nylander, 2 min, Hooking
26.0Clark, 2 min, Elbowing
02:19Hamhuis, 2 min, Tripping
05:58de Vries, 2 min, Holding
17:15Bradley, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
01:50Ward, 2 min, Boarding
04:37Laich, 2 min, Hooking
08:38Nylander, 2 min, Hooking
15:51Morrisonn, 2 min, Interference
Shots On Goal
Dan Ellis 64:5229342
Jose Theodore 64:5123341
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Game Information
Attendance - 17011
Referees - Paul Devorski, Rob Martell
Linesmen - Tim Nowak, Derek Nansen
Other Games
Bos 1 Final
Van 0
Colo 0 Final
Cal 3
Phi 7 Final
Atl 0
Pitt 1 Final
SJ 2
Car 2 Final
Mon 3
TB 3 Final
Tor 2