Capitals, Predators out to avoid a three-game skid

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The visiting Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators will have the same goal when meeting Tuesday night -- each wants to snap a two-game losing streak.

The usually potent Washington offense hasn't done much during its two-game skid. The Capitals scored just two goals in the past two games, a 2-1 overtime loss to Columbus on Saturday and a 4-1 home defeat against St. Louis on Monday.

When these teams last met, on Dec. 31, Nashville rallied for a 6-3 victory over the Capitals.

Even though Alex Ovechkin scored his 640th career goal in the St. Louis loss, it was not enough. Ovechkin did, though, move into a tie with Dave Andreychuk for 14th in NHL history in goals scored.

That was a power-play goal, so Ovechkin jumped past Brendan Shanahan into sixth place in that category. Ovechkin has scored 238 extra-man goals in his career.

Washington's other big milestone against the Blues came when defenseman Brooks Orpik played in his 1,000th career game.

Pheonix Copley played in goal Monday after starter Braden Holtby came out of Saturday's game when he was poked around the eye by a Columbus player. He left halfway through that contest and suited up as the back-up against the Blues.

It would seem likely that he'll start versus Nashville so that the Copley, a rookie, won't have to play on consecutive nights. Plus, Washington did not call up any other goalies.

Washington coach Todd Reirden said Monday morning the team was hoping Holtby, already picked as an All-Star, could be able to go against the Predators. Still, the team would wait and see.

Reirden also wants to see his team battle more around the crease for goals on plays in which the puck can be stuffed in from in front and knocked in on a rebound.

"For the most part, it gets to be a little more blue collar around the blue paint, (and that) is where a lot of goals come, it seems, as (the season) moves along," he said.

The Predators last played on Sunday, when Carolina handed them a 6-3 defeat. That ended a seven-game Nashville point streak.

The other loss in this brief skid was a 4-3 overtime loss to Columbus last Thursday.

Nashville's loss to Carolina ended a six-game road trip. Now, the Predators will play Washington, Winnipeg and Florida in a three-game homestand this week before heading back out on the road again next week.

Ryan Johansen tops the Predators with 32 assists and 40 points and has helped Nashville get through a few tough injury stretches to their top line as wingers Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg both missed more than a month with upper-body injuries.

"Ryan has been really good all year," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said on NHL.com.

"He's been productive all year long, and I think it becomes a little bit more challenging when you lose your linemates like that. It didn't matter to him, and he worked to make our team successful and to make players on the ice around him better as well."

Nashville also made a move Monday when it traded forward Connor Brickley to the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Cole Schneider. Schneider, 28, was second in points (25) with Hartford of the American Hockey League this year. He has played in six career NHL games.

--Field Level Media