December 31, 2018 / 8:53 PM / in a year

Predators down Capitals to end six-game slide

Frederick Gaudreau scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period as the visiting Nashville Predators posted the game’s final five goals and defeated the Washington Capitals 6-3 in a Monday matinee.

Dec 31, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (44) shots the puck as Nashville Predators center Frederick Gaudreau (89) defends during the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville halted a six-game losing streak while Washington saw a four-game winning streak. It was just the second loss in 11 games for the Caps.

The Capitals jumped out to a pair of two-goal leads in this game — 2-0 and 3-1 — but the Predators rallied and scored a fifth consecutive victory over Washington.

Ryan Johansen finished with a goal and two assists for Nashville. Goalie Pekka Rinne finished with 22 saves and improved to 5-1-0 in his career versus the Capitals.

The Predators turned things around during the second period with a three-goal burst in less than five minutes.

Washington took a 2-0 lead less than nine minutes into the first period when Michal Kempny and Jakub Vrana scored. Rocco Grimaldi cut the lead in half with a goal 23 seconds after Vrana’s tally.

Chandler Stephenson gave the Capitals a 3-1 at 8:22 into the second period lead thanks to some help from goalie Braden Holtby. The Washington goalie began the play with a long outlet pass to Devante Smith-Pelly up the right wing, giving the Capitals a two-on-none breakaway.

Smith-Pelly waited and passed the puck to Stephenson on his left, who he easily slid the puck into the net.

Everything began to change right after that, however, beginning with Miikka Salomaki’s goal at 9:57. He made a quick pass to Nick Bonino by the right post and scored when his teammate crossed it right back.

Johansen tied it just 2:02 later before Gaudreau’s goal put the Predators in front with 5:30 left in the second period. Grimaldi sent a shot on goal that bounced away from Holtby and back into the high slot, and Gaudreau fired it past the goalie for a 4-3 lead.

Ryan Ellis and Viktor Arvidsson added insurance goals in the third period.

Washington veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik returned after missing 27 games with a knee injury. He last played on Oct. 27.

—Field Level Media

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